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Police super-complaints system to be introduced next year


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A new police super-complaints system aims to 'shine a light on recurring issues' within policing.


Home Secretary Amber Rudd

Members of the public are being urged to share their views on plans for a police super-complaints system that would allow groups or charities to raise issues on behalf of the public.

The police super-complaints system is designed to mirror similar schemes in the commercial and financial sectors.

Designated bodies would be able to refer complaints about concerning trends or patterns in policing to a joint committee connecting HMICFRS, IPCC and the College of Policing.

It aims to give people a voice who "lack confidence in the current complaints system" and provide an avenue for raising "systemic issues in policing, which are significantly harming the interests of the public".

The Home Office has also confirmed the system, the first of its kind in the public sector, will be introduced next year.

It launched a public consultation which will determine which types of organisations can apply to become designated bodies.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “What the super-complaints system allows people to do is to speak with one voice on a specific issue when their concerns are shared by others.

“We know that existing systems have sometimes, in the past, been too slow at capturing major issues in policing, such as the failure to fully investigate widespread child sexual abuse or the misuse of stop and search.

“This consultation will decide what type of organisations can apply and take on this important responsibility in our society, shining a light on recurring issues and making sure there is a joined-up police response.”

James Plunkett, director of policy at Citizens Advice said: “Super-complaints have been successful in holding industries, like banking, to account when they’ve significantly let down customers or standards have fallen short of what’s required. 

“Extending this to public services, as the government is with the police, creates the opportunity for serious problems to be raised, investigated, and appropriate action taken - giving a much stronger voice to the public.  Robust evidence is essential for an effective super-complaint, so it’s good to see that’s a key part of the government’s criteria.”

The consultation documents propose trade unions and police staff associations are barred from becoming designated bodies.

Designated bodies should be well placed to represent the interests of the public and work for the improvement of policing but bodies who are opposed to policing in general, bodies with limited public interaction or bodies which represent a vested interest would be excluded, according to the document.

Would be designated bodies should also be willing and able to act as an umbrella providing a conduit enabling smaller bodies to bring super-complaints.

Plans for a police super-complaints system were first announced in 2015 as part of a wider government reform of police disciplinary and complaints processes. The new super-complaints system will sit alongside the reformed complaints system.

The consultation, which closes on December 8, can be accessed at gov.uk/government/consultations

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I wonder if the super complaint is going to mention the crippling staff and budget cuts or if they will just focus on the police failure to meet the publics desire and right for proper policing. 

Much as there are issues within policing, they are deeply connected with the rest of society and government. The criminal justice system and prisons and NHS and mental health services are all a complete mess. But there is so much misdirection and spin and nonsense that the people are denied any reality. Just the result. 

At the moment people are complaining that the police car isn't going fast enough or to the right places, while it's wheels have all been removed and sold for scrap. 

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It would worry me that this system will be advertising for complaints to be made. I have no problem with genuine complaints but, when are malicious complainants going to be prosecuted.

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I'm not sure about this if I'm honest.

What worries me is the comparison to banking or other such industries. There we are talking about overdrafts fees, interest rates, insurance related issues such as PPI and so on where it is a one size fits all issue, customer vs organisation and it's pretty clear in black and white. Almost every policing job is different from another. Victim A and victim B may have been assaulted, but just because the end result is the same, doesn't mean their cases are the same.... there maybe different natures of injuries, different evidence (no witnesses, no CCTV, etc), different views by the victim as to how they want their case to proceed, different criminal histories of the suspects concerned, different investigative leads to follow, different screening in or out of crime policies by different forces and so on..... so I'm not sure how this collective approach to things will really make a difference? Policing isn't a one size fits all approach, every job is different, every victim is different and set of laws and policies applied each time is likely to be different. How is a national super compliants system going to help? The only thing that I can see it addressing is issues around diversity or race relations and those issues aren't exactly a secret to any of us.

Then again, if this thing starts to identify problems with other sectors, such as the NHS and social services, mental health, etc, then maybe it will be a good thing.

Edited by Policey_Man
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