The Police Reform Act 2002 outlines the role of the IPCC as guardian of the police complaints system. Our purpose is to increase public confidence in the police complaints system in England and Wales, and we do this by providing direct oversight of individual complaints and conduct issues through our investigations, appeal reviews, and other casework activities.
We also provide general oversight of the performance of the police complaints system as a whole. The key challenges for us are to develop priorities that make the biggest improvements, balance the need for central co-ordination of activities with local delivery, and engage appropriately with organisations with different needs. We carry out this role alongside key partners so that we are delivering improvements across the system and focusing on priority areas in order to maximise impact.
Our guardianship function has four strands:
Setting standards for the operation of the complaints system is a key responsibility for the IPCC.
Key work under this strand includes:
Our Commissioners have a key responsibility for promoting confidence in the complaints system. As well as meeting regularly with local forces and police authorities, our Commissioners and staff work closely with a number of national and local organisations that represent complainants. This includes groups that represent people who have lower levels of confidence in the system, as identified by our latest public confidence survey 2011: young people, black and minority ethnic (BME) groups; and lower socio-economic groups. Commissioners also liaise with police staff associations, which represent the interests of police officers and police staff.
Ensuring the accessibility of the complaints system is a responsibility shared between the IPCC, police forces, and police authorities. We will work with police forces and others to implement our Access Strategy, which aims to ensure that the complaints system is accessible to all members of the public and that it considers the needs of young people, vulnerable adults, BME groups, and those with specific language or disability needs.
Click here to view the IPCC Access Strategy web page.
One of our most important functions involves promoting excellence in policing by drawing out and feeding back learning from our work. We will continue to publish regular Learning the Lessons bulletins to disseminate learning to the police service
Our Guardianship Strategy sets out how we will deliver and co-ordinate the four strands of our guardianship function. It was developed to help ensure that the guardianship activities we undertake across the Commission are well co-ordinated and focus on agreed strategic priorities. The strategy helps to ensure that all staff have a shared understanding of our approach to guardianship, and sets out how directorate, team, and individual roles contribute to the overall objectives.
An updated Strategy was agreed in June 2011, and is divided into three sections:
You can read the IPCC Guardianship Strategy document by clicking here.
We will complete a programme of work to implement the reforms to the complaints system set out in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. This will include:
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