Police to lose complaints powers
Police forces are to be stripped of the power to manage public complaints made against their own officers, the Home Secretary will announce today.
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are to handle citizens' complaints, instead of forces, in a bid to increase transparency, Theresa May will say.
The proposals, to be launched in a public consultation on Thursday, are the result of an end-to-end review of the police complaints system announced by the Home Secretary in July.
In addition, the consultation sets out new powers for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to strengthen its role as an independent oversight body.
Other reforms include the introduction of super-complaints, already used in financial markets, to give a voice to those who chose not to complain directly and to allow systemic issues to be exposed by designated advocacy organisations such as Which?.
Overall, the number of complaints against the police has risen from 22,898 in 2004/05 to 34,863 in 2013/14.
However, the majority of people unhappy with the police choose not to complain, in 2012/13, a total of 89% of those dissatisfied with the police did not complain, up 2% on 2006/07.
In 2013/14, it took an average 57 days to resolve a complaint through local resolution and an average 135 days to resolve a complaint through local investigation.
In 2012/13, 78% of people were dissatisfied with how their complaint was handled, including 62% who were very dissatisfied.
The Government will also publish the independent review of the police disciplinary system, chaired by retired Major General Chip Chapman, and consult on its recommendations to further improve the police disciplinary system.
The Government is already looking to implement a number of these recommendations, including holding police disciplinary hearings in public with independent, legally-qualified, chairs, within this Parliament.
Home Secretary, Theresa May, said: " This Government has always been clear that the vast majority of police officers do their job honestly and with integrity. But the good work of the majority threatens to be damaged by a continuing series of events and revelations relating to police misconduct.
"This consultation represents an important part of our radical programme of police reform.
"Under this Government, the College of Policing has published a new Code of Ethics and produced a national register of officers struck off from the police.
"We have strengthened the IPCC to ensure it can take on all serious and sensitive cases involving the police and HMIC will inspect all forces on the basis of their legitimacy in the eyes of the public.
"I want to ensure that the public have confidence in the police and I urge people to share their views and experiences of the police complaints and disciplinary system via this consultation."