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Complaints and Recordable Conduct Handling

Dated: 8 November 2022

POLICY TITLE: Complaints and Recordable Conduct Handling

OWNING DIRECTORATE: Corporate and Strategic Services

AUTHOR: Head of Professional Standards Department


AIM OF POLICY: This policy aims to maintain confidence in the accountability and integrity of the police which is vital not only to successful policing but also to increasing public confidence in the police service. The policy provides a framework to ensure that suitable arrangements are in place for dealing with complaints or allegations of misconduct against any person serving with the police.

BENEFIT OF POLICY: The policy sets out the principles and standards for dealing with complaints or allegations of misconduct including those on timeliness and proportionality. This will be beneficial to police officers and police staff whilst ensuring that members of the public can raise legitimate concerns about their police service and have a clear understanding of how such matters will be addressed.

REASON FOR POLICY: This policy seeks to provide clarity on the investigation of police complaints as detailed in Schedule 3, Police Reform Act 2002 (as amended by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020 and the Police Complaints and Misconduct Regulations 2020) applicable to both police officers and staff who are subject of a formal police complaint.

The Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner of Northumbria Police acknowledge the duty placed upon them by Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002 (as amended by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020 and the Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2020) and all other relevant statutory provisions to record and deal with:

  • complaints from members of the public.
  • allegations of misconduct.
  • complaints arising in the work place and those relating to off duty incidents.

All persons serving with Northumbria Police will aspire to meet and deliver the ‘Standards of Professional Behaviour’ when dealing with members of the public in the execution of their duties. These standards will reflect the expectations that the police service and the public have of how police officers and staff should act whether on or off duty.

Complaints or allegations about conduct which falls below the ‘Standards of Professional Behaviour’ will be dealt with as allegations of misconduct or gross misconduct.

Complaints and conduct allegations assessed to be of a minor nature will be dealt with by local managers; members of the Professional Standards Department will deal with all other matters including those assessed as potentially amounting to gross misconduct.

Northumbria Police will promote a culture of learning and development for police officers, police staff and the organisation rather than blame and punishment. The Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020 introduced the Reflective Practice Review Process (RPRP) which is designed to address low level misconduct, mistakes or performance issues in a proportionate and collaborative way. The process looks to embed a culture of reflection and learning and is intended to give officers, staff, volunteers and line managers the opportunity to constructively discuss areas for improvement and development.

Northumbria Police will deal with all allegations and complaints in an open, fair and proportionate manner and ensure early intervention and the timely investigation of complaint or conduct matters.

Complainants will be fully engaged in the complaint and misconduct process to ensure that good customer service is at the heart of resolving complaints, and that lessons are learnt to enable Northumbria Police to continue to deliver a citizen focused service.

Northumbria Police will work closely with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to demonstrate that the arrangements for the handling of complaints or allegations of misconduct are independent, accountable and operate with integrity so as to increase public confidence not only in the police complaints system but also in Northumbria Police as a whole.

Northumbria Police will share relevant information between forces where an officer, staff member or volunteer is linked to another area. 

The Police Act 1996
The Police Reform Act 2002 (as amended)
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011
The Police (Conduct) Regulations 2020
The Police (Complaint and Misconduct) Regulations 2012
The Police Appeals Tribunals Rules 2020
IOPC Statutory Guidance
Home Office Guidance

GROUPS AFFECTED: All officers and staff should view this document.


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