REPORT OF THE REVIEW INTO THE HANDLING OF COMPLAINTS AND CONDUCT IN WEST YORKSHIRE

INTRODUCTION 1. This review was conducted over a period of several months from October 2013 until January 2014. A copy of the terms of reference is at Appendi One and a list of those interviewed is at Appendi Two. The review was informal and the views e pressed in this report are personal! based on e perience over a number of years and the information "leaned durin" the review period! both from face to face discussions and from bac#"round written material. 2. $ would li#e to e press my than#s for the support $ received from the Office of the %olice and &rime &ommissioner 'O%&&( in facilitatin" meetin"s and providin" material! and in particular to Julie )eid and Jayne *avidson. $ also want to than# the &ommissioner! +ar# ,urns-.illiamson and the &hief &onstable! +ar# /ilmore! for their support and commitment to improvin" the service to the benefit of the people of .est 0or#shire. 3. $t is only fair to ac#nowled"e that the .est 0or#shire %olice 1orce has somethin" of a reputation for havin" in the past not responded ade2uately to complaints. The terms of )eference for my review e plicitly e cluded a remit to e amine or reopen past cases. 3ivin" down such a reputation ta#es time but it is noteworthy that the performance of the police in the last couple of years in respect of the number and type of complaints and alle"ations of misconduct does not differ si"nificantly from that of comparable forces and that 4er +a5esty6s $nspectorate of &onstabulary '4+$&( have not raised any particular concerns in this respect. 4. There are no formal recommendations in this report. $n my e perience such recommendations 2uic#ly become sterile and outdated and follow up action is reduced to

a tic# bo e ercise. $ have instead made observations! su""estions and! $ hope! identified areas where others can ta#e forward some creative and innovative initiatives to improve access for the public to the police service and to improve performance as a result. 7. 1inally! my #ey messa"e is that a fair! transparent and responsive system for handlin" complaints! criticisms and alle"ations is central to the establishment of trust by the public in the police. As such all those involved 8 the police themselves! the %olice and &rime &ommissioners! the %olice and &rime %anels! the $ndependent %olice &omplaints &ommission '$%&&( and the courts - must wor# co-operatively in their mutual interest to ensure an n effective and fair outcome in all cases. Althou"h! in my view ine plicably! %olice and &rime &ommissioners have fewer levers and le"al powers in respect of monitorin" the complaints system than their predecessor police authorities it is clearly their prime duty to ta#e upon themselves responsibility for ma#in" sure the force which is accountable to them is doin" the ri"ht thin". This re2uires proper resourcin"! open information flows and! ar"uably! an independent element in the process.

THE OFFICE OF THE POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER

9. $ have no doubt that the %&& himself! his chief e ecutive and the staff of the Office ta#e their responsibilities in respect of complaints very seriously and that they are 2uite clear that the public need confidence in their operation. The first year of the new re"ime in police "overnance inevitably saw some e perimentation and for the .est 0or#shire O%&&! as for many others! it was necessary to devise a system for handlin"! monitorin" and overseein" complaints which moved away from the earlier police authority approach.

$n this they were not helped by the raisin" of e pectations! particularly on the part of those who had e istin" and sometimes lon" runnin" complaints! that the newly elected &ommissioner would have a power to intervene in a way that the le"islation does not in fact permit. :. The public will continue to e pect the %&& to ta#e an interest in and be informed of their complaints and of course he must be able to fulfill this e pectation. $t follows that the Office must be ade2uately resourced to dischar"e this function #nowled"ably. $ believe that the oversi"ht and 2uality assurance role of the Office ur"ently needs more staff resource! with direct access to .est 0or#shire %olice $T systems and data bases. This should be addressed throu"h the second sta"e transfer of police staff. ;. <ome &ommissioners are e plorin" a more radical approach! with all staff of the relevant force6s %rofessional <tandards *epartments transferrin" to the O%&&! or even bein" outsourced. $n other areas forces are combinin" their resources to provide a 5oint complaints handlin" and conduct function! overseen by their respective &ommissioners. The 4ome Office is conductin" a review nationally of these developments and the .est 0or#shire &ommissioner will want to #eep closely informed of successes and challen"es when considerin" "oin" further with devolved control. 1or the moment however! e tended resourcin" to provide a more informed response to complainants is entirely 5ustified. =. This! however! only addresses the immediate issue of complaints arrivin"! either at the O%&& or at the force! under the present! ri"id system. $t does not provide an environment to encoura"e feedbac# and interaction! nor does it address the frustration of people who want to raise concerns but are deterred by the le"alistic and off-puttin" steps they have to "o throu"h under current %olice )e"ulations

10. >very a"ency with an interest or obli"ation around police complaints seems to a"ree that a new approach is re2uired. %eople want a route - for the type of complaints that form the vast ma5ority - that is 2uic#! informal! and effective at brin"in" about a meanin"ful result? one that they can understand! participate in and which is focused on positive outcome rather than blame. All these in"redients are to be found in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. .est 0or#shire has a rare opportunity to develop the application of this approach within the police complaints system as this was the basis of an innovative piece of research by the %&&@s chief e ecutive! for which he was awarded an $nternational 1ellowship with the JA+< 1oundation in &alifornia. There is hu"e scope for this wor# to be ta#en further with a view to reshapin" both the practice of complaints and conduct handlin" in forces and the le"islative framewor# and $ hope to see the &ommissioner supportin" this. 11. The use of community mediators! or advocates! could also e tend to third party reportin" of complaints. $ heard a powerful ar"ument su""estin" that youn" men and women! who are e offenders or otherwise in trouble with the police are not ta#en seriously when they attempt to ma#e a complaint about some aspect of the way they have been treated when searched or arrested. $f the O%&& were to e plore settin" up a networ# of voluntary mediators that should also build on the success of third party reportin" mechanisms for vulnerable victims of crime to the reportin" of complaints. 12. The O%&& also has a uni2ue opportunity within its e istin" resources to provide a complaints tria"e system for %&&s nationally! to provide a "uide throu"h the comple ities of recordin" and disposal decisions. *etails of how this mi"ht operate! based on an e tension of the hi"hly re"arded %olice Aational 3e"al *atabase '%A3*(! are set out in Appendi 3. 13. This review has been conducted as a time when the police service nationally faces public concerns about its inte"rity and openness. <ettin" an absolute standard for the inte"rity and professionalism of the force should be an imperative for the &ommissioner. $t is worth considerin" how he mi"ht be supported in this tas#! which "oes much wider

than oversi"ht of complaints. &o-optin" independent members onto an inte"rity sub committee of the 5oint audit and ris# committee is one possible route. 4owever it is achieved it should be seen as a protection and a help to the senior officers not to bear the responsibility for settin" standards alone! within the often closed and somewhat remote world of policin". This must be informed by a wider perspective and $ would ar"ue that it is up to the &ommissioner to ta#e on this duty. At a time of low confidence nationally in the handlin" by police of various hi"h profile conduct matters it important for people to see that the &ommissioner is independent and is proactively settin" the moral tone.

WEST YORKSHIRE POLICE

14. The sin"le most important success factor for the complaints and conduct department 8 %rofessional <tandards *epartment 8 is the "enuine and unwaverin" commitment of the &hief &onstable and the senior team to its wor# and its importance. This includes but is not restricted to resourcin". $t means leadin" by e ample and demonstratin" the very hi"hest personal standards of inte"rity and it means #eepin" a close eye on the day to day wor#in" of the *epartment. >very member of the .est 0or#shire police! officers and staff! and its contractors must #now the professionalism which is e pected of them and the conse2uences if that professionalism wavers. >2ually they have the ri"ht to e pect that they themselves will be treated fairly and openly if they come under investi"ation or are sub5ect to alle"ations. 17. $n my discussions $ came across nothin" which led me to fear that this commitment was lac#in" at the hi"hest levels of the force. The recent decisions to increase the resources available to the %<*! and to place in char"e a senior and hi"hly respected detective reinforce this. Althou"h the move to decentraliBe professional standards and to place responsibility for the actions of police officers and staff on local mana"ers has much to recommend it in theory it ris#ed a loss of consistency in decision ma#in" and it is clear that the central oversi"ht! 2uality assurance and e pertise was si"nificantly

wea#ened. <enior officers need to #eep under review the new structures to ensure a balance between local accountability and force wide standards. $t also sends an unfortunate messa"e for the head of %<* to chan"e too fre2uently 8 continuity is important for the future. 19. Cuality assurance by %<* centrally should e tend to what may sound trivial but actually matters a lot 8 the way in which communication is handled! with complainants and with officers and staff. )e"ular updates about pro"ress 8 even if only to note there has been no material pro"ress 8 are essential. And the letters which e plain what is happenin"! what has happened! and why a particular action may or may not have been ta#en should be written in plain >n"lish! in a way which everyone can understand. $f all those involved too# two minutes to read 'preferably out loudD( throu"h every letter sent out to chec# if it would ma#e sense to their own mother or ne t door nei"hbour! and whether it sounded helpful rather than defensive or obfuscatory everyone would benefit. 1:. The website and social media play an important role in wider communication of the 1orce6s policies and approach. $ was "iven to understand that the relevant sections of the website are currently bein" revised! which is welcome since there is certainly scope to ma#e it more user friendly. As part of that process it would be sensible to consider ways in which constructive comment and feedbac# can be encoura"ed. There are plenty of e cellent e amples from other or"aniBations! public and private! to emulate. POLICE AND CRIME PANEL 1;. 3i#e the %&& the %anel has spent the first twelve months feelin" its way throu"h the new statutory arran"ements and wor#in" out how best to dischar"e its responsibilities. Enusually the members of the %anel in .est 0or#shire! are remunerated! but li#e many other panels many of it members are former police authority members who have a "ood understandin" of the complaints and conduct system and who may be frustrated at their inability to have hands on en"a"ement with routine oversi"ht.

1=. The %anel has direct responsibility for complaints a"ainst the &ommissioner. $t remains to be determined as to how far complaints a"ainst the efficiency or competence of the staff of the Office of the &ommissioner! as opposed to complaints a"ainst the &ommissioner6s personal conduct! is properly the concern of the %anel. This is a matter for national! not local! resolution. 20. The %anel have concerns about the ready supply of detailed information 'includin" but not e clusively( about conduct and complaints. $t is not conducive to public confidence or to the effective delivery of policin" in .est 0or#shire for these concerns to be left unaddressed. $ am confident that this will improve.

INDEPENDENT POLICE COMPLAINTS COMMISSION

21. At the time of writin" the $%&& was about to analyse how it would deploy the increased resource 'top sliced from the police bud"et( to stren"then its capacity to deal with hi"h end complaints a"ainst the police in a demonstrably independent way. 22. $n .est 0or#shire relations at a local! wor#in" level! with the O%&&! with the police and with the panel! seem effective! with mutual understandin" and respect. To achieve a balance whereby all the players understand that their mutual end "ame is 5ustice! fairness! transparency and the confidence both of the public and of the police while safe "uardin" their individual statutory responsibilities and independence is a ma5or challen"e. All $ learned durin" my review su""ests that pro"ress is bein" made in this re"ard.

NATIONAL FRAMEWORK

23. .est 0or#shire 8 %&& and police ali#e - are bound to act within the current re"ulatory re"ime which is deeply unhelpful. $t is over le"alistic and pitchfor#s proceedin"s too rapidly into confrontation! not resolution! encoura"in" defensiveness. Eltimately! it inhibits officers from sayin" Fsorry Fin case that is construed as an admission of liability. 24. The comple le"alistic framewor# inevitably leads to e tended timescales - unfair and frustratin" for officers as well as for victimsGcomplainants. The system needs a complete overhaul! separatin" out proper safe"uards and timely responses for serious alle"ed breaches of the code from a framewor# which allows for swift and realistic resolution of poor or below standard performance 27. .e need national reco"nition to ac#nowled"e the importance of a robust and responsive feedbac# loop to %&&s and forces. Ao successful business or retail chain would i"nore its customers@ views on the performance of its staff. <urveys are no substitute for empathetic responses to constructive criticism. 29. $n my personal view the chan"e in le"islation to #eep all sta"es of the discipline process! includin" appeals! within the chief officer@s control was seriously retro"rade and is bound to diminish the already tenuous confidence of the public in the transparency and fairness of the system 2:. The &olle"e of %olicin" has a responsibility to improve the Hlessons learnedH systems within forces and nationally. There is little evidence that promises to learn from earlier casesGmista#es translate into action and this is as true in .est 0or#shire as elsewhere. $t is vital that there is consistency of discipline decisions within forces and nationally. The 5oint code of conduct G ethics for officers and staff may help with this. SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

2;. /et it ri"ht first time. $n every one of the most superficially e asperatin" on"oin" "rievances somethin" went wron" early on. This may not have been related to the central "rievance but if it had been addressed and rectified! perhaps by an apolo"y at the time! so much an"st! time and e pense mi"ht have been saved. 2=. *on6t thwart each other. All the statutory a"encies - particularly of course the %&& and the &hief &onstable 8 want the same outcome. They want crime and anti social behaviour to reduce! resources to be used efficiently to best effect and people to feel safer because they have more trust and confidence in the police. 30. )eco"nise and wor# within the current le"islative framewor#. ,y all means lobby to chan"e it for the better but ma#e it wor# better while it is what "overns the system at the moment. 31. *on6t ra#e up the past. 3earn from it but invest effort in new ways of wor#in" and a chan"e in the culture. 31. The .est 0or#shire police is already a strate"ic lead force for the re"ion! and nationally! with a #ey role in counter terrorism and as owner of the Aational %olice Air <ervice. The Office of the %olice and &rime &ommissioner has uni2ue e perience and e pertise in handlin" and advisin" on sensitive and contentious conduct matters locally and nationally. .or#in" to"ether both or"aniBations have real scope to steer and effect chan"e in this crucial area of interface with the public.