Police complaint? Don’t agree to Local Resolution!

I am constantly bemused by how police professional standards departments respond to police complaints. Having recorded a complaint, the police are obliged to consider whether the complaint deserves a full investigation or resolution by Local Resolution.

Local Resolution is an informal procedure and appropriate only if the actions of the police officers being complained about would not result in criminal or misconduct proceedings even if it were proved.

Of particular concern is that having agreed Local Resolution, a complainant cannot then change their mind and have their complaint dealt with by formal investigation.

In my experience, police forces seem to do their utmost to press for a complaint to be dealt with by Local Resolution. This is often without having a full understanding of the nature of the complaint and irrespective of the serious nature of the complaint that has been lodged.

I believe the police do this to brush (otherwise serious and valid) complaints under the carpet. By doing so they improve their complaint statistics, minimise fall-out within the force, and reduce the likelihood of formal complaints and police compensation claims.

It is essential that complainants know that they have a choice. As a general rule, I always advise my clients to insist on a formal investigation rather than Local Resolution. By doing so, there is some hope that their complaint will be handled with an independent, objective, accountable and transparent approach (I stress hope!).

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Author: iaingould

Actions against the police solicitor (lawyer) and blogger.