Home Affairs Committee

Police conduct and complaints inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Due to the general election on 12 December 2019 the Committee has now closed this inquiry. Following the dissolution of Parliament on 6 November, all Select Committees will cease to exist until after the general election. If an inquiry on this subject is held in the future, the Committee may refer to the evidence already gathered as part of this inquiry.

Scope of the inquiry

The inquiry will examine the role and remit of the Independent Office for Police Conduct within the police conduct and discipline system. It will look at how it works with police forces around the country to resolve complaints and progress in reforming the system following criticisms of the time taken to resolve complaints. It will also investigate what reforms are required to secure public confidence in the police conduct and disciplinary system.

Background

In 2017-18, there were 31,671 recorded complaints against the police– a decrease on the number in the previous year (34,103) but part of a longer-term increase since 2004-05 (when 22,898 complaints were recorded).

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is responsible for overseeing the police
complaints system in England and Wales. However, only the most serious and sensitive cases are dealt with by the IOPC—most complaints are dealt with by local forces themselves. Each police force has a separate department that oversees complaints. These are called ‘professional standards departments’ (PSDs). Responsibility for ensuring that issues are handled in a fair and just manner by a local force PSD rests with the Chief Constable, who is accountable to the relevant Police and Crime Commissioner or other relevant office holder.

Terms of reference

Written evidence is invited on the issues set out below – but please note that submissions do not need to address all of these issues.

  • The role and remit of the IOPC within the police conduct and discipline system;
  • Progress in reforming the complaints system, including speeding up decision making;
  • How the IOPC is working with individual forces and policing bodies in order to respond to complaints;
  • The need for the IOPC's new powers, and their expected impact; and
  • Whether further reforms are required to secure public confidence in the police conduct and discipline system.

Latest evidence

No evidence has been published by the committee yet.

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