An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IPCC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IPCC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IPCC.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.

The appropriate authority can be:

  • the chief officer of the police force
  • the Police and Crime Commissioner responsible for the police force you complained about
  • the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (if your complaint is about the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service)
  • the Common Council for the City of London (if your complaint is about the Commissioner of the City of London police).
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
A person is adversely affected is he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
IPCC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer complained about.
Consists of a chair, two deputy chairs, and commissioners – each responsible for specific police forces, guardianship work and individual cases.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever manner it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only take place in certain limited circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IPCC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter; and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into a complaint and produces a report that details the outcome of each allegation. There are four types of investigation: local investigation, supervised investigation, managed investigation and independent investigation.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
The IPCC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
An application by a complainant for a police decision to be reviewed.

IPCC issues findings from investigation into South Wales Police handling of domestic abuse case

Jun 11, 2014

An IPCC investigation has found that a woman, who was hospitalised after being attacked in her Cardiff flat by her partner, was let down by a consistent thread of low level performance by South Wales Police officers and members of staff.

The investigation found that the force failed to access, and to process, relevant information appropriately, and did not make the woman aware of the risks that the man - who was a registered sex offender with a record of violence - presented to her and her young children.

On August 26, 2011, the woman made a statement to police, alleging that the man had assaulted her, resulting in bruising. Police could not immediately find the man, who had been released from prison in 2007, but who was still on licence.

Three days later, while away from her flat, the woman contacted police again, to report that the man had been at her address earlier and had been harassing her to drop the charges against him. She asked police to meet her and stated that she felt unable to return home.

The woman, with her two young children, waited over two hours for the police to arrive. She was taken to a police station, where she made a further statement. An officer later drove the woman and her children home. Within minutes of the officer leaving, the partner forced entry into the locked flat, and attacked the woman with a hammer, resulting in serious head injuries.

IPCC Commissioner Jan Williams said:

''We found that, following the initial assault, the police did not give this case any urgency or priority. No one took overall supervision and this failure to ' join the dots' effectively put this woman and her children at serious risk. South Wales Police had the systems and intelligence in place to flag up the danger that this offender presented, but, at various stages, officers failed to access that information and to assess the risk properly.

"The force has accepted our findings and recognises that it placed the woman, and her young children, at unacceptable risk. Since 2012, the Police and Crime Commissioner has made this area of policing a high priority and has worked with the force to improve the police response to allegations of domestic abuse. Earlier this year, HMIC also published an inspection report on the way in which the force was handling domestic abuse allegations and this highlighted positive changes.

"This high level of priority is welcome, as this area of policing needs constant vigilance; domestic abuse has a number of characteristics and police officers need regular training updates to make sure that they are alert to them all. Victims must have confidence that, in coming forward, their allegations will be given a high priority.”

The IPCC investigation has recommended that one police constable has a case to answer for misconduct and that one other officer, with three control room staff, should be subject to management intervention for poor performance. South Wales Police is arranging a misconduct meeting for the officer with a case to answer.

South Wales Police should have referred the matter to the IPCC at the time it happened; instead, the IPCC only became aware of it over a year later, when the woman's MP complained on her behalf. The IPCC began an independent investigation in early 2013, completing it in April this year.

The investigation found that, following the initial assessment, while officers did conduct some area searches, an apparent lack of activity at the offender's address indicated that the police made only limited efforts to apprehend a potentially violent sex offender. Police had correctly documented and recorded all the intelligence their databases held on the offender, but did not use that information well in dealing with the escalating situation. A notification to the Probation Service may not have prevented the serious assault, but it could have resulted in the offender's licence being revoked, and his swift return to custody.

IPCC commissioner Jan Williams added:

''We cannot say with any certainty what would have happened if the police had placed a higher priority on finding the offender after the initial assault; we can say that the lack of focus at the time placed the woman and her children at serious risk.''

The man was recalled to prison after the second assault and committed suicide in November 2011.

The IPCC has recommended that SWP reviews its training for first responders and supervisors in the effective management of domestic abuse situations, especially where children are involved. The force is also recommended to review training around officers' access to, and use of, information systems, as an integral part of domestic abuse investigations.

Ends

For media enquiries please contact the IPCC press office on 0207-166-3239 or 3267

An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IPCC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IPCC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IPCC.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.

The appropriate authority can be:

  • the chief officer of the police force
  • the Police and Crime Commissioner responsible for the police force you complained about
  • the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (if your complaint is about the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service)
  • the Common Council for the City of London (if your complaint is about the Commissioner of the City of London police).
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
A person is adversely affected is he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
IPCC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer complained about.
Consists of a chair, two deputy chairs, and commissioners – each responsible for specific police forces, guardianship work and individual cases.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever manner it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only take place in certain limited circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IPCC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter; and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into a complaint and produces a report that details the outcome of each allegation. There are four types of investigation: local investigation, supervised investigation, managed investigation and independent investigation.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
The IPCC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
An application by a complainant for a police decision to be reviewed.

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