Complaints process for complaints about the commissioner and unregistered complaints about the Chief Constable

Ian Howgate made this Freedom of Information request to Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner,

Please send me a copy of the complaints process for handling complaints about the TVP&CCO and the process covering the method of resolution for complaints about the Chief Constable that TVP&CCO refuse to register or acknowledge.

In particular I need to be able to understand the resolution process for complaints that have not been resolved to my satisfaction by the TVP&CCO.

Considering that I have asked you for this directly previously and that it has been some time that you have failed to acknowledge my complaint raised to you about the Chief Constable, I am very disappointed to have to make a formal Freedom of Information Request for this information.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Howgate

Thank you for your email. A member of my staff will look into the issues you have raised and respond within 10 working days. Anthony Stansfeld Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley

Lawson Graham,

Dear Mr Howgate

Thank you for your FOI request
I acknowledge receipt of your request and will ensure that you receive a reply within the 20 working day timescale.

Graham Lawson
Business Manager

Direct Line: 01865 846782
Internal: 700 6782

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley
The Farmhouse
Force Headquarters
Oxford Road

show quoted sections

Dear Lawson Graham,

Today I have received two letters seemingly answering the request above, one from Mr Rickett which states

"In relation to the complaint against the Chief Constable if you are dissatisfied with the decision you have a right of appeal to the IPCC. Your appeal rights are set out in the attached letter. Any appeal will need to be submitted on or before 5 December 2015."

and providing the TVP&CCO complaints policy - the contents of which I copy below for reference.

The Second a letter from CEO Paul Hammond which he apologises for TVP&CCO's tardy handling of my correspondence and his own tardy handling of my complaint about the slow handling and the failure to register my complaint regarding the TVP Chief Constable but rejects this latter issue. Therein he states "As Mr ************ is an employee of the PCC, the handling of this complaint is not subject to the requirements of the aforementioned act [the Police Reform Act 2002] and associated IPCC guidance. Accordingly, may I confirm that there is no right of appeal against the outcome of this complaint."

I thank you for this swift response to my request for information but have to say that I am lost to be able to understand the complaints policy. Why is there no explanation of the elapse times expected for handling and corresponding with the public about complaints - surely the TVP&CCO can understand that the public are likely to become anxious if they do not hear about their complaints in a reasonable time, most complaints policies issue an acknowledgement letter within 5 working days which explains the likely timescales - what are these for TVP&CCO.

Hence as the response does not supply the information I was looking for I am hereby clarifying this by asking specifically, what time scales, in regard to both (1, complaints against the TVP&CCO staff and 2, the TVP CC) between a complaint and a) an acknowledgement of registration or rejection of registration and b) a response to the complaint, TVP&CCO expect their staff to work to?

Secondly I am confused by Mr Hammond's response claiming that the public have no right of appeal to a complaint he has investigated about his own staff's conduct. Is he talking about there being no internal right of appeal? Surely the public have some sort of right to take a complaint about TVP&CCO staff to some external agency, perhaps the Parliamentary Ombudsman or a Judicial Review? Please can you explain the rights of appeal for a complainant who is dissatisfied with the outcome or handling of a complaint about TVP&CCO staff?

Yours sincerely,

Ian Howgate

Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner
Complaints Procedure
We want people to be safe and feel safe in the Thames Valley and for the police to provide you with the best service possible. Everyone has a right to fair and honest treatment by the police. Sometimes, something goes wrong in the Force’s day-to-day dealings with the public. When this happens, we want to ensure that the appropriate person or body responsible for putting it right hears about it and this document has been produced to make it easier for you to make a formal complaint.
We’d also like to hear if you believe any of our staff or officers have exceeded your expectations and gone further to help resolve your query, question or crime.
Do you wish to make a Complaint against the Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner?
Whenever you come into contact with the Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner you have the right to expect a professional service that meets your needs. Should the level of service fall below expectations you have the right to complain about: • The Commissioner’s Office itself, our policies or practice; • The Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner (more details below); • A Member of Staff of the Commissioner’s Office, including contractors; and • A Volunteer working on behalf of the Commissioner’s Office.
If you wish to make a complaint you must do so in writing to:
The Chief Executive Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Police Headquarters Oxford Road Kidlington OX5 2NX
If you wish to make a complaint against the Chief Executive you may write directly to the Police and Crime Commissioner at the above address.
Complaints against the Commissioner should be made in writing to the Chief Executive of the Commissioner’s Office as detailed above. Once a complaint is received it will be forwarded to the Police and Crime Panel to consider.

Do you wish to make a Complaint against the Thames Valley Police Force, including its officers and staff?
Complaints against Thames Valley Police are handled in two ways.
Complaints against the Chief Constable The Commissioner’s Office has a statutory duty to consider complaints against the Chief Constable. If you wish to make a complaint against the Chief Constable please write to:
The Chief Executive Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Police Headquarters Oxford Road Kidlington OX5 2NX
Please note that the Commissioner’s Office cannot investigate complaints made anonymously.
Other Complaints against Thames Valley Police While the Commissioner’s Office has a role in monitoring how the police respond to complaints, it does not become involved in complaint investigations. If you are dissatisfied with the service you have received from Thames Valley Police we would recommend that in the first instance you try and take up any issue with the officer concerned and/or their line manager. Often this is the most straightforward way of resolving a matter. However, if this is not possible or appropriate, the Force’s Professional Standards Department is responsible for handling all complaints against Officers and Staff below Chief Constable as well as general complaints regarding the provision of the policing service in Thames Valley.
If you wish to make a complaint against Thames Valley Police please contact its Professional Standards Department:
By letter: Head of Professional Standards Professional Standards Department Police Headquarters Oxford Road Kidlington OX5 2NX
By telephone: 101 (when dialling from within Thames Valley) 01865 846030 (when dialling from outside of Thames Valley)
By email: [email address]

You also have the right to make a complaint against Thames Valley Police direct to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Information on the work of the IPCC and the complaints process can be found on the IPCC website (
How to make a complaint against Thames Valley Police
Complaints about the police will either be about police policies and procedures or about the conduct of a specific officer or member of police staff. The two types of complaints are dealt with differently and this document explains how to make either type of complaint against the police in Thames Valley.
Making a complaint about a Thames Valley Police officer or member of police staff
You should complain if you have been treated badly by the police or if you have witnessed the police treating someone in an unacceptable manner. There are many ways to make your complaint and you can choose the one that suits you best: • Contact the police directly (by going to a police station or by telephoning, emailing, faxing or writing); • Contact one of the following: - The Police and Crime Commissioner - A solicitor - Your local MP - Your local councillor - A “Gateway” organisation (such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau) • Ask a friend or relative to make the complaint on your behalf (they will require your written permission); or • Contact the national Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Making a complaint about a Thames Valley Police policy or procedure
For complaints about the overall policies or procedures of the police, you should contact the Force’s Professional Standards Department.
What happens next
Whatever type of complaint you make, the police will need to know as much as possible about the circumstances so that they can deal with it as quickly and efficiently as possible. They may ask you to fill in a form or make a written account of the issues involved, and someone will be on hand to provide any help you may need to do this. An official record will be made and you will be told how the complaint is going to be dealt with, what action may be taken as a result and how the decision will be made.
Most complaints will be dealt with by Thames Valley Police, but the more serious complaints are likely to involve the IPCC. The Force will agree with you how often – and by which method – you would like to be kept updated of progress.

The Commissioner’s Office monitors closely how complaints are handled by the Force, and receives monthly updates on the Force’s performance. Random dip-checks of PSD files will also be carried out to ensure that procedures are followed properly.
The Force and the Commissioner’s Office welcome your comments and use the information to improve the service offered to all our communities.

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

The minute you engage with the police in a complaint you make the injustice suffered 1,000 times worse. The complaint procedure is governed by statute and the police are expert in exploiting the relevant laws so they can f_ your life up for as long as you allow them.

For the avoidance of doubt, the whole process is a sham. They will use tricks of the trade like for example record your complaint wrongly so you have no appeal rights, and/or prolong the complaint over several months or even years knowing full well that when they do eventually make a decision it will be a decision not to uphold your complaint.

They will if recording the complaint correctly give you 21 days to submit an appeal which if you do they will deal with internally (i.e., another officer looking after his colleague's best interest will be allocated the job). After wasting a year or so more of your time you will get the outcome of another sham process. You will then be informed that their decision is final and can only be challenged in the High Court which because of the impracticalities and the potential to lose your home to pay for the litigation costs is the deterrent and why they can conduct sham investigations.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will not intervene if you raise concerns about the force's abuse of the system, neither will the Police & Crime Commissioner who is paid and elected to represent the public, because they too are sham organisations.

Ian Howgate left an annotation ()

From experience I have to say that this is an entirely accurate synopsis of the way that the police abuse the system. It is entirely corrupt and the scariest thing is that they will victimize anyone who has the guts to point out how corrupt the system is. The other thing I am witnessing is the police's suppression of incidents. They simply don't record them if they don't want to. The result is that crimes go unnoticed, uninvestigated and the crime statistics are a total fabrication.

Isa Bell, London UK left an annotation ()

Thanks to fFaudwAtch UK and to Ian Howgate for their interesting annotations.

Definitely within TVP, not TVPCC, there is a demonstrable tendency to ignore some complaints and anything else relating to poor or none performance in the hope the concern person will forget about the matter.

Not only is TVP corporately arrogant and corporately incompetent, some of its senior staff, civilians and police officers, are unable to provide effective leadership and commitment to providing a good public service.

Current chief constable Francis Habgood was the only applicant for the the job. He was then the deputy chief constable. Inevitably one must wonder why no talented persons applied. Did the police and crime commissioner's decision to exclude up-and-coming achievers or his refusal to employ non-UK European Union nationals directly responsible for the job going to a less than-impressive internal deputy? Some might think TVP needs talent at the top, regardless of nationality as evidenced at Europol in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, where a non-Dutch EU national (i.e. English bloke) is the boss.

Talent and a massive overhaul of procedures, attitudes and accountability is conspicuously overdue.



Ian Howgate left an annotation ()

Agree with all of this except the fact that my experience of the TVPCCO is that they are just as determined to suppress complaints - as dodgy as 'a three bob note' as my father would have said.
What concerns me most is that if this is how our police service is run is there any surprise that the country is overrun with corrupt organisations that have brought the economy down and led us into austerity?

Isa Bell, London UK left an annotation ()

Thanks Ian.

TVPCC is supposed to supervise the chief constable and has no remit over the internal disciplinary proceedings at TVP or internal TVP organisation. That creates a bad situation where ineffective senior management at TVP is unchallenged and they ignore the public (probably out of contempt for the public) thus the crap and poor service, or technically dis-service, continues inflicting misery on the public they are paid to serve.

The whole systems needs a major rethink and a massive overhaul.

Best wishes,


fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Bogus IPCC! Outcome to complaint about the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner refusing to record a complaint about the Chief Constable:

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