Concerns regarding the recording of complaints onto the "Centurion" database.

W Hunter (Account suspended) made this Freedom of Information request to Northumbria Police

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

The request was partially successful.

W Hunter (Account suspended)

Dear Northumbria Police,

I have recently been required to submit a number of complaints to Northumbria Police however the process of recording and subsequent investigation of those complaints is somewhat of a mystery.

I have been told that civil staff rather than police officers are apparently responsible for taking the complaint allegation and transferring it onto the Centurian Database however there appears to be a significant lack of conformity to the complaint acknowledgement and summaries sent out depending on which member of staff actually processes them.

I would therefore request copies of any policy or procedure which the staff, whos duty it is to enter complaints onto the Centurian Database, must follow to undertake that duty.

I have found that the staff rarely if ever put their own contact details onto the acknowledgement and the usual practice is to leave the contact information as simply 101, which is pointless as the 101 call handlers refuse to connect a caller with professional standards unless you have a telephone extension or a name.

Please specify if the staff are required to inform any complainant of their contact details so the complainant can contact them directly regarding errors, also whether there is any requirement for the staff to request that the complainant verify and agree that the complaint is acceptable to them.

On the "Allegation Summary" document sent from the Centurian Database there are usually 4 boxes, being Summary, Complainant, Allegations and Investigating Officer.

Please provide any policy or procedure which mandates what information should be recorded and or displayed in each of those four boxes before the document is sent to the complainant.

In respect to the first box, being the Summary, there are a number of headers across that box, usually Complainant, Allegations and Staff but not always.

Please specify what the headers should be, and the nature of the information which should be displayed under each, i.e. the header staff, exactly which staff should be recorded there?

In addition the Allegations header in the Summary box is usually a set phrase irrespective of which member of staff has entered the information, which leads me to believe that the information is obtained from a drop down menu by the staff concerned.

Please confirm whether the information shown under the Allegations header in the Summary Box is entered from a drop down menu, and if so please provide a list of all the drop down options and their associated definition and or meanings as understood by the staff using them.

Please also specify whether the staff have the ability to enter a free text entry into that field or whether it is only the drop down menu choice available.

In relation to the staff entering the information onto the Centurian Database, please specify what if any qualifications or training they possess, or indeed any document, policy or procedure which applies to how to take a written complaint and correctly assess the relevant information to accurately enter the allegation as a set entry from the drop down menu / free text box id that is displayed.

In the Allegation(s) box on that form there are a number of row headers and whilst a number are very obvious, i.e. Number and recorded (date), the remainder are much less so.

"Type", appears to be a copy of the allegation from the set menu as shown in the summary box.

Again please specify if the entry under Type in the Allegations box is from a drop down menu, whether it is accessed / filled in separately or whether it is automatically completed by the database from the field entered in the Summary box or indeed vice versa.

"Location" would again be fairly obvious however the staff regularly fail to correctly identify the correct location so can you please confirm what if any requirements are placed on staff to ensure the correct information is entered?

"Allegation" would appear to be the staff members written transcription of the allegation but again in some cases this has been re written or paraphrased by the staff instead of a cut and paste copy of the original complaint.

Please specify whether the staff are required to enter the original complaint or whether they are required to enter in their own words a version of the complaint themselves.

There is a row heading "Allegation Result" which I do not believe I have ever seen with an entry filled in, I do not know if this is supposed to be a description of how the event affected the complainant or whether it is supposed to contain the outcome of the investigation.

Please specify what the row header "Allegation Result" is supposed to identify and again if there is a drop down menu for the content please specify all their associated definition and or meanings as understood by the staff using them.

The last box Identifies the Investigating Officer assigned to the case and allegedly the date the officer was assigned.

I have been contacted by investigating officers 1-2 days before the response document claims they were assigned which leads me to believe that the information displayed on the summary sent out to the complainant is routinely incorrect.

Please specify whether the assigned date in that box is not actually the date the officer was assigned the case and what if any policy or process allows your staff to enter incorrect information without any single person flagging the error.

Please specify what if any quality control or error checking process is undertaken to sample the work of the staff concerned to ensure that procedures are being followed.

Having been assigned a case I have been informed that the officers are then required to comply with requirements set by the IOPC and or the Police Reform Act.

https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/sites/d...

I believe the requirements are that the officer should contact the complainant to discuss the content of the complaint and how the complainant wishes to have the issue resolved,(page 4 of the document)

It seems Local resolution is for "less serious" complaints and Local Investigation for presumably anything that is not "less Serious".

Please provide any policy / procedure or document which lists all matters addressed via the complaints process by "seriousness" i.e. all matters which are deemed to be resolvable by "Local Resolution" and all matters which require Local Investigation.

Please specify who within the staff entering the complaints onto the Centurion Database, or if not them then who within Northumbria Police has the authority to decide whether a complaint is to be locally resolved or investigated and during which part of the process that decision is taken, i.e. before it is passed to the staff for entry onto the database or by them as they are doing so.

Since the IOPC document is minimalist when it comes to actual requirements regarding contact from investigating officers and timescales for investigation, please provide any policy or procedure applying to any officer required to undertake a complaint investigation, either as local resolution or local investigation.

Please detail any requirements for contact with the complainant, any requirements for updates during the process and also any policy or procedure for checking that any assigned officer has actually complied with those requirements.

If as I believe Northumbria Police has no such system in place please specify how a complaint that an officer has failed to carry out his complaint investigation duties should be identified to Northumbria Police and whether that offence would be deemed as local resolution or require an investigation.

Yours faithfully,

W Hunter

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Northumbria Police

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

 

Thank you for your email received today in which you make a request for
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W Hunter (Account suspended)

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

The deadline for compliance under the FOIA has expired without any further response.

As you are withholding "information to which I was legally entitled to receive" on or before yesterdays date Please record this as a breach under section 77 of the FOIA against your organisation and report this to the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

W Hunter

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Northumbria Police

1 Attachment

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

 

Thank you for your e mail dated 22 June 2019 in which you made a request
for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

 

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of
access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority
(including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

 

You asked:

 

1. I would therefore request copies of any policy or procedure which the
staff, whos duty it is to enter complaints onto the Centurian Database,
must follow to undertake that duty.

2. Please specify if the staff are required to inform any complainant of
their contact details so the complainant can contact them directly
regarding errors, also whether there is any requirement for the staff to
request that the complainant verify and agree that the complaint is
acceptable to them.

3. Please provide any policy or procedure which mandates what information
should be recorded and or displayed in each of those four boxes before the
document is sent to the complainant.

4. Please specify what the headers should be, and the nature of the
information which should be displayed under each, i.e. the header staff,
exactly which staff should be recorded there?

5. Please confirm whether the information shown under the Allegations
header in the Summary Box is entered from a drop down menu, and if so
please provide a list of all the drop down options and their associated
definition and or meanings as understood by the staff using them.

6. Please also specify whether the staff have the ability to enter a free
text entry into that field or whether it is only the drop down menu choice
available.

7. In relation to the staff entering the information onto the Centurian
Database, please specify what if any qualifications or training they
possess, or indeed any document, policy or procedure which applies to how
to take a written complaint and correctly assess the relevant information
to accurately enter the allegation as a set entry from the drop down menu
/ free text box id that is displayed.

8. Again please specify if the entry under Type in the Allegations box is
from a drop down menu, whether it is accessed / filled in separately or
whether it is automatically completed by the database from the field
entered in the Summary box or indeed vice versa.

9. "Location" would again be fairly obvious however the staff regularly
fail to correctly identify the correct location so can you please confirm
what if any requirements are placed on staff to ensure the correct
information is entered?

10. Please specify whether the staff are required to enter the original
complaint or whether they are required to enter in their own words a
version of the complaint themselves.

11. Please specify what the row header "Allegation Result" is supposed to
identify and again if there is a drop down menu for the content please
specify all their associated definition and or meanings as understood by
the staff using them.

12. Please specify whether the assigned date in the last box is not
actually the date the officer was assigned the case and what if any policy
or process allows your staff to enter incorrect information without any
single person flagging the error.

13. Please specify what if any quality control or error checking process
is undertaken to sample the work of the staff concerned to ensure that
procedures are being followed.

14. Please provide any policy / procedure or document which lists all
matters addressed via the complaints process by "seriousness" i.e. all
matters which are deemed to be resolvable by "Local Resolution" and all
matters which require Local Investigation.

15. Please specify who within the staff entering the complaints onto the
Centurion Database, or if not them then who within Northumbria Police has
the authority to decide whether a complaint is to be locally resolved or
investigated and during which part of the process that decision is taken,
i.e. before it is passed to the staff for entry onto the database or by
them as they are doing so.

16. Since the IOPC document is minimalist when it comes to actual
requirements regarding contact from investigating officers and timescales
for investigation, please provide any policy or procedure applying to any
officer required to undertake a complaint investigation, either as local
resolution or local investigation.

17. Please detail any requirements for contact with the complainant, any
requirements for updates during the process and also any policy or
procedure for checking that any assigned officer has actually complied
with those requirements.

18. If as I believe Northumbria Police has no such system in place please
specify how a complaint that an officer has failed to carry out his
complaint investigation duties should be identified to Northumbria Police
and whether that offence would be deemed as local resolution or require an
investigation.

 

 

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I
provide a response for your attention.

 

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the
(Department/s Area Command/s) of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that
the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

 

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

 

1.     No information held. We do not hold a policy or procedure for this.

2.     No information held.  There is no set policy However to try to
assist I have provided the following which may be useful.

Complainants  are provided with an acknowledgment letter once recorded on
Centurion, they are also provided with an allegation summary (Regulation
14) which is a list of each allegation recorded on Centurion. 
Acknowledgment letters to all complaints  are produced on Professional
Standards letter head, which provides the PSD mailbox address, and the 101
number.  The acknowledgment states “if you require any amendments to the
allegations please contact us on the above telephone number.  Staff will
endeavour to be as helpful as possible.

3.     No information held.

4.     Box 1 Summary – If officers/police staff have been recorded against
an allegation the allegation will show, but not the name of the
officer/police staff.

Box 2 – Complainant – Details provided by complainant, name, address.

Box 3 – Allegation, date recorded, type, location (if provided) allegation
wording.

Box 4 – Investigation Officer – Name of appointed investigator if
appointed at time of recording on Centurion.

5.     If at this point you are referring to the detail of an allegation,
there is no standard wording which we use – this is specific to each
individual complaint that we receive. No information is held regarding
staff understanding.

6.     No free text available for type of allegation

7.     Staff are provided training on the use of force systems and other
packages relevant to the management of complaints.

8.     See point 5

9.     If the complainant has provided details of where an incident took
place this will be entered onto the system, FWIN may be checked to
identify a location, however location of incident is not a mandatory entry
on Centurion. Staff will always ensure that the information entered is as
accurate and relevant to the complaint as possible in respect of the
details known at that time.

10.  No information held.

11.With regards to the first point, See point 5 - The second part of the
question is subjective and therefore this cannot be answered.  

12. with regards to the first point = Box 4 the date the IO is appointed
from workflow is entered onto Centurion.  With regards to the second point
– no information held.

13. Admin flag issues and amend spelling and grammar errors.  Complaints
are subject to routine quality assurance checks upon creation, during
investigation and at conclusion.

14. no information held.

15. The Force Assessor is responsible for  these decisions.

16. In relation to  point 16, no local policy & procedure, we follow the
guidance of the  IOPC.  Investigators provide meaningful updates to
complaints every 28 days as per the IOPC guidelines.

17. The IOPC Statutory Guidance to the Police Service on handling of
complaint  Regulation 12, Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations
2012 state The first update must be provided promptly and within 28
calendar days of the start of the investigation. Subsequent updates must
be provided at least every 28 calendar days after that. 

18. N/a – see above

 

 

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'Northumbria Police will be outstanding in the service we provide'

'We will do this through protecting the Vulnerable, delivering quality
Investigations and applying Problem solving to everything we do to protect
the communities we serve.'

 

 

 

 

NORTHUMBRIA POLICE PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE The information
contained in this message and any attachment(s) is confidential and
intended only for the attention of the named organisation or individual to
whom it is addressed. The message may contain information that is covered
by legal, professional or other privilege. No mistake in transmission is
intended to waive or compromise any such privilege. This message has been
sent over public networks and the sender cannot be held responsible for
its integrity. If you are not the intended recipient be aware that any
disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken in reliance of the
information contained herein is strictly prohibited, and is contrary to
the provisions of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act, 1988 and of the
Data Protection Act, 2018. Any views expressed are those of the sender
and, unless specifically stated, do not necessarily represent the view of
Northumbria Police. We cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage
sustained as a result of software viruses. It is your responsibility to
carry out such virus checking as is necessary. If you have received this
message in error, please notify the sender by e-mail at once and delete
the message immediately. For more information about Northumbria Police
please visit our website - http://www.northumbria.police.uk

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