The Home Office introduced changes to the Police Complaint system in February 2020 and part of these Reforms were how reviews of police complaints (formerly known as appeals) were dealt with. As of 1 February 2020, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have taken on reviews of police complaints, where the Force would have previously been the appeal body.
The reason for this change is to ensure the reviews are impartial and carried out independently, providing greater assurance to the public. Previously, complaint reviews were carried out by the Force Professional Standards Department (PSD), which allowed for accusations of bias.
What is a review?
Where a complaint has been recorded by Thames Valley Police (TVP) under Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002, the complainant has a right to apply for a review of the outcome of the complaint. If you are unhappy with the way your complaint was handled by TVP, or with the final outcome, you can apply for a review.
The review will consider whether the outcome and handling of your complaint was reasonable and proportionate. Reasonable and proportionate means doing what is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the facts and context in which the complaint has been raised, within the framework of legislation and guidance. Where the OPCC finds that the outcome of the complaint is not reasonable and proportionate, we will uphold the review.
As part of the OPCC conducting reviews, we are able to make recommendations to the Head of PSD and suggestions to the Force regarding Organisational Learning.
It is important to understand that the relevant review body cannot reinvestigate your complaint. It can only assess whether the handling or final outcome of your complaint was reasonable and proportionate.
Who is the relevant review body for my complaint?
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is the relevant review body where:
- The appropriate authority is a local policing body
- The complaint is about the conduct of a senior officer (an officer holding a rank above chief superintendent)
- The appropriate authority is unable to satisfy itself, from the complaint alone, that the conduct complained of (if it were proved) would not justify the bringing of criminal or disciplinary proceedings or would not involve the infringement of a person’s rights under Article 2 or 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (see glossary)
In any other case, the relevant review body is the PCC for Thames Valley. The complaint outcome letter from TVP should advise you who the relevant review body is and how to contact them.
How can I submit a review?
As above, the outcome letter from TVP should advise who the relevant review body is and how to contact them. If you have been advised by TVP that the PCC is the relevant review body, you may submit your review to:
The Head of Governance and Compliance, Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Police Headquarters, Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 2NX or email OPCCComplaintReviews@thamesvalley.police.uk.
Please note that if it is determined that the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is the relevant review body, your review will be forwarded to them directly.
You have 28 days to apply for a review. We must receive your application within 28 days from the day after the date on the letter from TVP explaining the outcome of your complaint, otherwise your review may not be considered.
More information on making a complaint or applying for a review of your police complaint can be found in our Complaints Policy.