If you are unhappy with the way a police complaint was handled, or with the final outcome, you can apply for a review.
The Home Office has reformed the way reviews of police complaints (formerly called appeals) are dealt with. In February 2020 the Staffordshire Commissioner’s office took on extra responsibilities for reviewing how complaints were dealt with, where the complainant is not happy with the outcome. This change applies for complaints that were first recorded after February 1st 2020 and the Staffordshire Commissioner’s officer is identified as the relevant review body. If the complaint was made before 1 February 2020, you have a right of appeal via either Staffordshire Police or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
The reason for this change, is to make sure that reviews are completely impartial and carried out by an independent body, providing greater reassurance for the public.
The change is also designed to ensure that complaints can be dealt with effectively, reasonably and proportionately.
It is important to understand that the relevant review or appeal body cannot reinvestigate your complaint. It can only assess whether the handling or the final outcome of your complaint was reasonable and proportionate.
A complaint review is an appraisal of how the original complaint was dealt with by the police. A review will not mean that the complaint itself is reinvestigated. This is not within the Staffordshire Commissioner’s remit.
The review will instead look at and consider the process that the police followed, and the decision that was reached. Once a review has been completed we will let you know whether this has been upheld or not.
The relevant review body must receive your application within 28 days from the day after the date on the letter explaining the outcome of your complaint. For example, if your letter is dated 1 April, you must make sure the relevant review body receives your review or appeal by 29 April.
Downloaded review forms should be sent to:
Or by post to:
Staffordshire Commissioners Office
The Commissioner and their office work on behalf of the public. They are independent of the police force, but will have full access to your original complaint file and all associated documentation.
Handling and scrutiny of reviews will primarily and normally be looked at by the Compliance Manager. They will check whether it is the right organisation to handle your request. If not, they will forward your information to the relevant review body and inform you that it has done so.
The Compliance Manager will notify the organisation you have complained about that you’ve applied for a review. They will also notify the person complained about and any other interested persons.
The Compliance Manager will conduct a thorough review of your complaint file and how it was originally processed by the police. The Compliance Manager will keep you updated on key elements of your review as appropriate.
At the end of this review, they will make a decision and (if necessary and appropriate), make a recommendation on the next steps in the process. You will be told about this decision in writing. You will receive a clear explanation about how this decision has been reached.
In relation to complaints concerning the police force maintained by the elected local policing body:
- The most recent quarterly data in relation to that police force and the annual statistics report published by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
- A report setting out details of how the elected local policing body has fulfilled its duty under section 1(8)(ca) of the 2011 Act (police and crime commissioners)(3) to hold the chief constable to account for the exercise of the chief constable’s functions under Part 2 of the Police Reform Act 2002(4) in relation to the handling of complaints.
- A report setting out an assessment by the elected local policing body of its performance in exercising its functions under paragraph 30(1)(b) of Schedule 3 to the Police Reform Act 2002 (reviews: the relevant review body)(6).