Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Reviews of Police Complaints
A list of frequently asked questions covering Reviews of Police Complaints
Table of Contents
1. About reviews
1.1 What is a Review?
1.2 How do I know if my application for review should go to the Mayor or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)?
1.3 When do I have a right to apply for a review to the Mayor?
1.4 Will you act on my behalf?
2. The review process
2.1 I have applied for a review. What happens next?
2.2 When can I submit information for consideration during the review process?
2.3 When should I expect to receive a decision about my application for review?
2.4 What happens when a decision is made?
2.5 Does the Mayor deal with compensation claims?
2.6 Can the Mayor make the police apologise to me?
3. After the review
3.1 What happens if my review is upheld?
3.2 The decision refers to ‘reasonable and proportionate’ – what does this mean?
3.3 Can you make determinations about lawfulness?
3.4 What happens if I don’t agree with your decision?
3.5 How do I complain about the complaint handler in the police force who handled my complaint?
3.6 What happens if I’m not happy with the service I received from the Policing and Crime Team?
1. About Reviews
If you believe the outcome of your complaint to West Yorkshire Police was not reasonable and proportionate, you may have the right to apply for a review. An application for review is an opportunity to ask the Mayor or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to consider the outcome of your complaint.
Most of the review applications we receive are for complaints which have been dealt with by a method known as “Otherwise Than by Investigation”, but we may occasionally review the outcome of an investigated complaint.
You should have been told by West Yorkshire Police the outcome of your complaint and whether it is the Mayor or IOPC to whom you should apply to have the outcome reviewed.
Our role is to decide whether the outcome of the handling of your complaint, given to you by West Yorkshire Police, was reasonable and proportionate. This is the only decision to be made when a complaint is reviewed.
A review is not a re-investigation of your complaint or an investigation of the original incident you contacted West Yorkshire Police about.
You have 29 days, starting from the date of your letter from West Yorkshire Police to submit your application for review. This includes any time that your applications spends in the post. If we do not receive your application within 29 days of the date of the outcome, we do not have to accept your application.
When you are given the outcome of your complaint by West Yorkshire Police, the letter will explain who you can apply to for a review. This is your relevant review body. This will either be the Mayor or the IOPC. The letter will tell you the date to request a review by and how to submit your application.
You can request a review from the Mayor where she is the relevant review body. The Mayor has delegated the responsibility for conducting reviews to her Policing and Crime Team.
You can apply for a review when your complaint has been formally recorded and handled in accordance with Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act.
There is no right to apply for a review where:
- Your complaint has been handled informally (outside of Schedule 3, Police Reform Act 2002).
- Your complaint does not meet the necessary legal criteria to be recorded (for example the person making the complaint is not eligible to be a complainant).
- Your complaint has been withdrawn previously.
No. We are an independent organisation and an impartial review body, therefore we do not represent or act on your behalf or the police’s behalf. You can use another person to help you through the process, such as a family member, a friend or an independent solicitor. You can nominate a representative should you wish to, in your application.
2. The Review Process
First, we will check that you have sent your application to the relevant review body, within the 29 days allowed by legislation. We will send you an acknowledgement to confirm that we have received your application for review, outline what will happen next and let you know when you can expect to receive a decision.
We will access West Yorkshire Police systems to review the background papers and evidence about how your complaint was handled or investigated.
We will not speak with the person you made your complaint about, but we may have to speak to the complaint handler.
We encourage you to provide as much information as possible in your application to explain why you feel the outcome of your complaint was not reasonable and proportionate. In all cases, your review will be conducted using all the available papers and supporting evidence that you and West Yorkshire Police have provided alongside any further information that we consider it necessary to obtain to make a decision on the review.
The person conducting the review will consider whether the outcome of your complaint was reasonable and proportionate. Where we find that the outcome was not reasonable and proportionate, we will uphold the review. We may also make a recommendation to West Yorkshire Police with a view to remedying your dissatisfaction.
We will access West Yorkshire Police systems to view all the evidence and background information regarding the handling of your complaint. We will then use this information to conduct your review.
You can submit further information to us if you wish, preferably by email to email@example.com. The time when you submit your application for review is your opportunity to provide us with all the information for consideration. This is because you cannot provide extra information for consideration after a decision has been made.
You are asked to provide any extra information within 7 days from when we acknowledge your review. If you would like extra time to do this, please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
We will not accept information after we have made a decision on your review.
We aim to conduct a review as quickly as possible after we acknowledge receipt of your application. When we acknowledge your request we will tell you when you should expect to receive a decision.
In the unlikely event that your review is delayed for any reason, we will of course make sure that we keep you informed.
We will decide whether the outcome was, or was not, reasonable and proportionate. Once we have made our decision, we will write to you, West Yorkshire Police and any officers complained about, to explain the reasons for our decision, as well as any proposed recommendations.
Recommendations will depend entirely on your individual case. There is no further right of review following a review decision that we have made. Review decisions are final. This means that any review decisions made by the Policing and Crime Team on behalf of the Mayor can only be overturned by the courts through the judicial review process. You may wish to seek your own independent legal advice if you intend to pursue this course of action.
Upheld - If we uphold your review, it means we decided that the outcome of your complaint was not reasonable and proportionate. We will explain why in the review outcome letter and what recommendations, if any, we intend to make to West Yorkshire Police.
Not upheld - If a review is not upheld, it means we decided that the outcome of your complaint was reasonable and proportionate. We will explain why in the review outcome letter.
No. Reviews cannot consider claims for compensation from the police. If you wish to pursue a financial claim against West Yorkshire Police, you should contact its Legal Services Department. You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for more information or to seek legal advice.
No. We can recommend that an apology is offered, but we cannot direct the police to do this.
3. After the Review
If we uphold your review, we may recommend that West Yorkshire Police should consider one of the following options:
- your complaint should be referred to the IOPC
- your complaint should be investigated by West Yorkshire Police
- specific action to remedy the complaint, made under paragraph 28ZA of the Police Reform Act 2002
West Yorkshire Police can choose not to accept a recommendation but must tell us why. If we make a recommendation to West Yorkshire Police, it must respond to us within 28 days of the recommendation being made. We will share the response with you.
At this point our handling of the review is concluded. We do not make recommendations in every case, even when we have upheld a review. Recommendations are considered on a case-by-case basis.
In deciding whether the outcome was reasonable and proportionate, we will look at:
- what actions the complaint handler took to address your complaint
- whether the complaint handler considered any relevant legislation and guidance
- whether they engaged sufficiently with you to fully understand your complaint
- whether the findings and determinations logically follow from the information or evidence obtained and whether they identified any potential for learning.
No. Your complaint could be about the lawfulness of the conduct of a person serving with the police (for example, it may be alleged that an arrest or the search of your home was unlawful). The complaints process cannot reach a determination about whether there has been criminal behaviour or civil unlawfulness. Reaching determinations on these issues is for the criminal and civil courts and/or those conducting disciplinary proceedings. The complaints process can only reach determinations on whether the actions of officers were reasonable and proportionate.
All decisions the Policing and Crime Team makes are final. There is no right of review/appeal against our decision following a review. Our decisions can only be overturned by the courts through the judicial review process. Please note that there is a three-month time limitation if you wish to judicially review a review decision. You may wish to seek your own independent legal advice if you intend to pursue this course of action.
The review process is the correct way to deal with any shortcomings in the handling of your complaint.
We cannot look at your complaint about the complaint handler’s conduct. You would need to contact the West Yorkshire Police Professional Standards Directorate. Its details should be in the complaint outcome letter, or you can submit an online complaint form from the Force’s website.
If you are unhappy with the service you have received, you can make a complaint to the Head of Policing and Crime. They will not address any concerns or queries about decisions made about a review because there is no further right of review of the decision.