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 publishes findings from investigation into Essex Police contact with Christine Chambers prior to her murder

Aug 22, 2012
 
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is today issuing its findings from an investigation into Essex Police contact with Christine Chambers and her family prior to her and her young daughter’s murders in June last year.
 
The investigation found that a catalogue of incidents over a two year period involving Ms Chambers and David Oakes were treated largely in isolation by officers and there were failings of systems within Essex Police’s response.
 
Ms Chambers and two year old Shania were brutally murdered by David Oakes, Shania’s father, on 6 June 2011. They both died in their own home in Braintree, as a result of shotgun wounds. David Oakes was convicted of their murders at Chelmsford Crown Court on 11 May 2012 and was sentenced to whole life imprisonment.
 
The investigation found that against a backdrop of 16 incidents and ongoing child custody proceedings:
 
• there was a failure by police to recognise any pattern or connection between the events being reported, and, in particular, there was a failure to identify or act upon the evident escalation in the number of Ms Chambers’ calls to the police during the two months prior to the murders - at a time when officers had been told her relationship with David Oakes had ended;
 
• Ms Chambers’ fear of Mr Oakes was not taken into consideration by police as a potential motivation for her not pursuing complaints against him;
 
• important information about David Oakes’ violence towards Christine was known to agencies involved in the child custody proceedings, but either not known by police or not taken sufficiently into account in their risk assessments;
 
• there was little focus by police on Mr Oakes himself and inadequate action taken to arrest him at the earliest opportunity, when reports were made of him breaching a non-molestation order;
 
• despite consistent warnings to Essex Police, specialist domestic abuse investigation teams were poorly resourced, and there remained a substantial backlog in inputting domestic violence forms on the force intelligence system;
 
• the case should have been dealt with by a multi-agency risk assessment conference, but was not referred to one, in part because the level of risk had not been assessed accurately so it did not meet the threshold for referral, but also because of a lack of information sharing to enable the full picture to be exposed. 
 
IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “The deaths of Christine and Shania Chambers are shocking to us all. It is impossible to say with any certainty whether if individual officers or the force had done things differently Ms Chambers and Shania would still be alive today. While individual police officers could and should have done things better, this is not essentially a failure of individuals, but a failure of systems. The investigation identified a lack of adequate training, insufficient resources allocated to domestic violence cases and poor oversight.
 
“This is a tragic and disturbing case and the investigation has identified several key issues which apply to many other cases where domestic homicide is the outcome. Many women are reluctant to pursue criminal proceedings against abusive partners, sometimes even to seek help at all. There are many reasons for this, and often it is fear that they will exacerbate the situation and increase the danger they face.
 
“Undoubtedly this poses significant challenges for the police and other agencies, but it is essential in these situations that all possible is done to protect the victims and their children. Unwillingness to seek help or give evidence against the perpetrator is often due to fear and can be a sign of vulnerability, not culpability, and this must be recognised when a risk assessment is completed. I am very grateful to the members of a community reference group I established in July 2011 for their domestic violence expertise in relation to this and other Essex domestic homicide cases.”
 
The IPCC has discussed its investigation findings with the force, and Essex Police has produced an interim management review report identifying the organisational lessons learnt from the deaths of Christine and Shania Chambers. As a result Essex Police has now completed or put in place a number of actions to strengthen its response to domestic abuse incidents. The investigation found the actions of any individual police officers did not amount to misconduct. Five police officers have been debriefed on the investigation findings by a senior officer to inform their future actions in such cases. The roles and responsibilities of other agencies involved are being addressed separately by a Serious Case Review and Domestic Homicide Review.
The IPCC investigation covered 16 interactions between police and Christine Chambers or David Oakes between March 2009 and June 2011. The investigation examined police logs, statements from officers, family members and neighbours, and considered domestic abuse practice and policies within the force. The investigation also addressed a number of specific concerns expressed by Ms Chambers’ family.
 
The IPCC has urged Essex Police to reinforce training to officers around use of domestic violence forms and in particular the need, in accordance with national policy, to ask additional questions of a victim where stalking and harassment is identified. In a specific recommendation, the IPCC has asked Essex Police to work with Chelmsford County Court and Essex County Council, to put mechanisms in place for better information sharing in cases involving child custody proceedings. Ultimately, domestic violence forms are only a tool to assist in risk assessment, and information sharing contributes to this process by providing a fuller picture. However, it is vital that the police understand the dynamics of domestic violence, including the patterns of behaviour and the risk factors to assess the danger and reduce the risk of domestic homicide. Effective training and ongoing supervision, as well as formal procedures are vital to ensure that police officers have the appropriate levels of knowledge and skills to do this.  
 
An IPCC summary investigation report is available here.
 

-ends-

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

Investigations:

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