Each quarter, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) collect data from forces about how they handle complaints. They use this to produce information bulletins that set out performance against a number of measures. They compare each force’s data with their most similar force group average and with the overall results for all forces in England and Wales.
The below narrative accompanies the IOPC Complaints Information Bulletin for Quarter One 2022/23:
Due to another police force having technical issues they have been unable to submit their data to the IOPC and as such this is an interim bulletin. The following figures in the bulletin are not affected by this issue:
- Force figures for the period (1 April to 30 June 2022)
- Same Period Last Year (SPLY) figures
- Most Similar Force (MSF) group averages as the force concerned is not in our MSF group
Figures referred to as National include full data for 43 forces and partial data for one force. The partiality of the data is due to the timing of the other force’s Q4 2021/22 data submission which contained matters logged/completed in the Q1 2022/23 period that the IOPC are unable to exclude.
As these bulletins are ‘interim’ they will not be published on the IOPC website, however, the PCC has chosen to publish them here.
The picture for complaint handling by the force is relatively positive, with the force excelling in the timeliness of initial contact and recording of complaints. Your PCC continues however, to support and work with the force in the following areas:
- Timeliness – Surrey Police took an average of 224 days to finalise a complaint under Schedule 3 by way of local investigation compared to 134 day for the same period last year. The most similar force (Cambridgeshire, Dorset and Thames Valley) average is 182 days with the national average being 152 days. The force are increasing resourcing within the PSD and are focussing on improvements in the way investigations are conducted thereby speeding up the time it takes to investigate and finalise complaints.
- Ethnicity Data – The force are working on an IT remedy which will allow them to link complaint data to ethnicity data. This is an area of specific interest for the PCC and we will continue to work with the force to understand any trends, disproportionality and is a key area of focus this quarter for the force.
- IOPC Referral – The force are reviewing its internal processes so that referrals to the IOPC are both proportionate and timely. This quarter the force only submitted 12 referrals when the most similar forces submitted 21. Again, the PCC will work closely with the IOPC and Surrey Police to make improvements in this area.
- Learning – No individual or organisational learning was identified or submitted by the force this quarter. The handling of complaints should aim to improve the police service and individual performance through learning, and to put things right when they have gone wrong. This should be done while ensuring there is appropriate accountability at both individual and force level. It is thought that administration issues maybe a factor in this low number being recorded this period and the PCC will continue to work with the force to understand and rectify this issue as soon as possible.