Complaints Overview

Following the most significant legislative change in complaints in the last 10 years, Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has opted to provide a more comprehensive complaint resolution process, moving away from an adversarial process involving punishment and sanctions and towards a regime of learning and service improvement.
 
The Policing and Crime Act 2017 introduces a number of changes designed to achieve a more customer-focused complaints system and aims to increase the focus on learning and improvement with serious breaches of professional behaviour still being handled by the Professional Standards Department in Hertfordshire Constabulary.
 
The aim is to change the culture in the police service and allow every staff member to take personal responsibility for continual development and learning and also for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to monitor trends and assist with the implementation of organisational learning.
 
The enhanced complaints procedure is managed by the Complaint Resolution Team (CRT) in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) who will have first sight and initial contact and handling of all complaints regarding Hertfordshire Constabulary. CRT will assess and seek views from the complainant on whether a complaint is suitable for service recovery and then will manage the complaint accordingly outside of Schedule 3 of the Police reform Act 2002.  Some complaints, due to their nature, will need to be formally recorded within Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002 and therefore will need to be transferred to the Professional Standards Department in Hertfordshire Constabulary.  This will all be explained to each complainant when complaints are acknowledged.

How to make a Complaint

We hope that you are happy with the service that Hertfordshire Police provide and that you’ll have no reason to complain - however if there is something that you are unhappy with, we’d like you to tell us about it so that we can try to resolve this for you.
 
We’re totally committed to addressing all complaints, fully, fairly and in a reasonable timeframe. Here are the ways you can contact us:
 
Complete an online complaint form –  https://www.herts.police.uk/Report/Report-Shared/Make-a-complaint
 
Email the Complaint Resolution Team - opcccomplaintresolutionteam@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk
 

Telephone the Complaint Resolution Team - 01707 806111
(Phone lines are open between 10am – 1pm, Monday to Friday)

Phone lines remain closed due to COVID-19 and remote working. Should you need to contact CRT, please use the above contact number and leave a message on the answerphone stating your name, telephone number and a brief description of your complaint. This is monitored regularly and a team member will contact you back as soon as possible.  Please note telephone calls will come from a private number.  Please remember to be ready to provide all relevant details when informing us of your complaint, including your name, address, email and contact number.


To help us resolve your complaint as quickly as possible it would be helpful if you could include the following points in your contact:

-what happened
-when it happened
-who was involved
-what was said or done
-were there any witnesses
-was there any damage or injury caused
-any reference numbers that you have been given
 
Please note that the Complaint Resolution Team will not tolerate unreasonable or abusive complainant conduct.
 
What is unreasonable complainant conduct?
 

Unreasonable complainant conduct can be defined as any behaviour by a current or former complainant which, because of its nature or frequency, raises substantial health, safety, resource or equity issues.
 
CRT have an unreasonable complaint conduct policy.  If you would like to read more about this please click here
 

Who can make a Complaint

 
  Complaints not about the conduct of Individuals Complaints about the conduct of Individuals
Who can make a complaint? A complainant must be:
 
  • A member of the public who was adversely affected by the matter complained about *See definition of adversely affected below
     
  • Someone acting on behalf of someone who was adversely affected by the matter complained about (Consent must be provided)
A person cannot make a complaint if:
 
  • At the time of the alleged conduct they were under the direction and control of the same chief officer as the person whose conduct it was
     
  • They are a person serving with the police, a National Crime Agency officer or a person on relevant service (within the meaning of section 97(1)(a) or (d) of the Police Act 1996) and were on duty at the time that the conduct took place in relation to them, they were adversely affected by it and they witnessed it.
Who cannot complain? A person cannot make a complaint if they are a person serving with the force complained about, unless they are a designated community support volunteer or police support volunteer. A person cannot make a complaint if:
 
  • At the time of the alleged conduct they were under the direction and control of the same chief officer as the person whose conduct it was
     
  • They are a person serving with the police, a National Crime Agency officer or a person on relevant service (within the meaning of section 97(1)(a) or (d) of the Police Act 1996) and were on duty at the time that the conduct took place in relation to them, they were adversely affected by it and they witnessed it.
Definition of witness
  Not applicable A person can be said to be a witness to the conduct if, and only if:
 
  • They have acquired their knowledge of the conduct in a manner which would make them a competent witness capable of giving admissible evidence of that conduct in criminal proceedings, or
  • They possess or have in their control anything that could be used as admissible evidence in such proceedings
Definition of adversely affected
A person will be considered to have been adversely affected if they have suffered any form of loss, damage, distress or inconvenience as a result of the matter complained about, if they have been put in danger or otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.

A person will not be considered to have been adversely affected solely by virtue of having seen or heard about the conduct or its effects, (for example, in the news or being told about it by a third party, unless they:

 
  • Were physically present or sufficiently nearby when the conduct took place, or the effects occurred, and saw or heard the conduct or its effects, or
  • Were adversely affected due to the fact that they knew the person directly affected by the conduct before it happened

 
 

Who will handle my complaint

Who will handle my complaint about the Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd?
 
Any complaint about the conduct of the Police and Crime Commissioner or his deputy is the responsibility of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Panel.  
 
For more information on the work of the Panel please see the Police and Crime Panel Website

If you wish to make a complaint about the PCC the Deputy PCC please write to:
 
The Clerk of the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Panel
Borough Offices
Bishops College
Cheshunt
Hertfordshire
EN8 9XQ

Email: pcp@broxbourne.gov.uk
 
Who will handle my complaint about the conduct of a member of staff from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner?
 
Any complaint about the conduct of office staff is the responsibility of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The investigation and management of the complaint is delegated to the Chief Executive, however the PCC will oversee the process. 

If you wish to make a complaint about a member of the office please write to:
 
Chief Executive
Police and Crime Commissioner's Office
Harpenden Police Station
15 Vaughan Road
Harpenden
Hertfordshire
AL5 4GZ

Email: chris.brace@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk

If your complaint is about the Chief Executive, you may write in confidence directly to the Police and Crime Commissioner at the Harpenden Police Station address, as above.
 
Who will handle my complaint about the Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Constabulary?
 
Any complaint about the conduct of the Hertfordshire Chief Constable is the responsibility of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The investigation and management of the complaint is delegated to the Chief Executive, however the PCC will oversee the process as the appropriate authority for these complaints, although the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner do not deal with complaints about operational decisions or policing policies.   

If you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of the Chief Constable please write to:
 
Chief Executive
Police and Crime Commissioner's Office
Harpenden Police Station
15 Vaughan Road
Harpenden
Hertfordshire
AL5 4GZ

Email: chris.brace@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk 
 
Who will handle my complaint regarding the conduct of a Hertfordshire Constabulary Officer or member of staff?

Any complaint regarding the conduct of a Hertfordshire Constabulary Officer or member of staff is now the responsibility of the Police and Crime Commissioner following a change in legislation and will be triaged initially by the Complaint Resolution Team (CRT).  If your complaint can be handled outside of Schedule 3 of legislation the CRT will attempt to service recover your complaint.  Please note it may be necessary for your complaint to be formally recorded within Schedule 3 of legislation due to the nature of it.  If this is the case, your complaint will be forwarded to the Professional Standards Department in Hertfordshire Constabulary who will handle all matters to do with it.

If you wish to make a complaint about the conduct of a Hertfordshire Constabulary officer or member of staff please write to:
 
Complaint Resolution Team
Police and Crime Commissioner's Office
Harpenden Police Station
15 Vaughan Road
Harpenden
Hertfordshire
AL5 4GZ
 
Email: opcccomplaintresolutionteam@herts.pcc.pnn.gov.uk
Online complaint form -  https://www.herts.police.uk/Report/Report-Shared/Make-a-complaint

 
 

Unhappy with the Outcome

We hope that your complaint will be resolved to your satisfaction, however if CRT dealt with your complaint outside Schedule 3 of legislation and you remain dissatisfied we are able to transfer your complaint to the Professional Standards Department (PSD) in Hertfordshire Constabulary.  The Professional Standards Department will formally record your complaint within Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002 and will advise you accordingly as to how your complaint will be handled.  If your complaint is transferred to PSD then they will be your point of contact going forwards and you will have no further dealings with CRT.

If you are still dissatisfied after your complaint has been handled by PSD you may have the right to a review.  More information regarding this process can be found here

PSD will inform you whether you have the right to a review and details of the relevant review body will be on your final outcome letter.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I complaint about?
 
You can complain about a behaviour that has directly affected you, adversely affected you or you have witnessed.
 
Can I make a complaint on behalf of someone else?
 
If you wish to make a complaint on behalf of someone else, you will require written permission from the person affected.  Solicitors must also gain written permission if they are acting on a person’s behalf.
 
What is the Policing and Crime Act 2017?
 
In part it has reformed the police complaints and disciplinary systems to ensure that the public have confidence in the Constabulary/OPCCs ability to hold the police to account, and to ensure that police officers uphold the highest standards of integrity.
 
How will my complaint be handled?
 
CRT will deal with the initial assessment (triage) of all complaints regarding Hertfordshire Constabulary.  CRT aim to resolve dissatisfactions in a quick and efficient manner, offering a speedy acknowledgement and communication with the complainant to ascertain details regarding the nature of the complaint.  Expectations will be discussed, in order that issues can be progressed with a clear understanding from both parties.
 
Can I choose how I would like my complaint to be handled?
 
Yes, legislation dictates that a complainant has the right to decide whether they would like their complaint handled within schedule 3 of legislation or outside schedule 3 of legislation.  (Please note that some allegations will have to be handled within schedule 3 of legislation due to their nature).
 
What difference will it make if I choose inside or outside schedule 3 when making a complaint?
 
If your complaint is dealt with within Schedule 3 of legislation, your complaint will be passed to the Professional Standards Department in Hertfordshire Constabulary to be recorded.  Your complaint may take longer to process as it is a more formalised process and initial contact can take up to 28 days.  If your complaint is dealt with inside schedule 3 at the conclusion of your complaint you may have a right of review.
 
If your complaint is dealt with outside of schedule 3, the Complaint Resolution Team (CRT) will try and service recover your complaint.  Currently CRT have an average turnaround of 5 working days**. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome after initial handling, you have the right to have it transferred to PSD to be dealt with inside the formal legislation.
 
What does recording a complaint mean/involve?
 
Recording a complaint means that it has formal status under the Police Reform Act 2002.  It must then be dealt with according to formal rules and guidance.

What happens if I am still dissatisfied after initial handling by CRT?
 
Following the conclusion of your complaint, if you remain dissatisfied, you will have a right to have it referred to the Professional Standards Department which CRT will do on your behalf.  The OPCC will also monitor the outcome of the complaint and uses data collated to gather trends, identify learning and improve the service provided to the public.
 
What happens if I am dissatisfied after PSD has dealt with my complaint?
 
If you are unhappy with the outcome of a complaint that was dealt with by PSD, then you can request a review, this must be requested outlining the reasons why within 28 days of receiving the final decision letter.
 
The review will be dealt with by either the OPCC or the IOPC. You will be advised of the relevant review body at the conclusion of the complaint.
 
Please check your complaint outcome letter which will have been sent to you to confirm who you should make a review request to.
 
Who are the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC)?
 
The team supporting the work of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire.
 
The Police and Crime Commissioner has responsibility for delivering an efficient and effective police service in their area. The Commissioner’s role is to support and when necessary, challenge the Chief Constable. With respect to complaints, the Police and Crime Commissioner is required to oversee all complaints made against officers and staff. They also have responsibility for complaints against the Chief Constable. OPCC is the relevant review body for complaints that have been dealt with locally by PSD.
 
Who are the Complaint Resolution Team?
 
The PCC has set up a team called the Complaint Resolution Team (CRT) to deal with the logging of all complaints received regarding Hertfordshire Constabulary and triage accordingly).  The team also handles all complaints that fall outside of Schedule 3 of legislation.
 
Who are the Professional Standards Department (PSD)?
 
PSD- will deal with all complaints inside schedule 3 of the legislation, these tend to be for more serious allegations which if proven could result in criminal or disciplinary proceedings or where complainants choose to have their complaint dealt with in this manner.
 
Who is the Independent off of Police Conduct (IOPC)?
 
IOPC- They are independent and oversee the police complaints system in England and Wales. They investigate the most serious matters, including deaths following police contact, and set the standards by which the police should handle complaints. IOPC use learning from their work to influence changes in policing. They do not deal with the initial handling of complaints, they will forward any complaint received to the relevant policing body to be assessed first. This will be the CRT in the OPCC for Hertfordshire.
 
Is there a time limit on making a complaint?
 
There is no time limit on making a complaint, but it is best to do it as quickly as possible after the incident/s occurred. If more than 12 months have passed between the incident (or latest incident) and the date of your complaint, then the appropriate authority may not investigate it. If you are making a complaint more than 12 months after the incident you should explain the reason for the delay. However, explaining your reasons does not guarantee that the complaint will be investigated
 
What are the possible outcomes of my complaint?
 
You will be provided with information and an explanation – either by telephone or in writing
You will be provided with an update regarding outstanding matters
Any questions you have will be addressed
The return of property where appropriate
An apology offered for poor service
Confirmation that steps have been taken to prevent the same error occurring again
Signposting to appropriate processes or external agencies is provided