Section 12, Police Reform Act

This request has been withdrawn by the person who made it. There may be an explanation in the correspondence below.

Dear Hampshire Constabulary,

The Police Reform Act 2002, places restrictions on who can make formal a complaint about police conduct, in some cases it prevents serving officers and staff from making formal complaints. Where a serving member of staff wishes to make a complaint, often the only option open to them is to pursue any issue internally, a process which ultimately is under the discretion and control of the Chief Constable.

" The PRA defines who might be considered to be adversely affected by the conduct or who may have witnessed the conduct. Pursuant to section 12(3), a person may only fall into the “adversely affected” category if;

(a) They were physically present, or sufficiently nearby when the conduct took place or the effects occurred that they were able to see or hear the conduct or its affects, or

(b) The adverse effect was attributed to, or was aggravated by the fact that the person in relation to whom the conduct took place was already known to them.

"Pursuant to section 12(5) of the PRA, a person can be taken to have witnessed the conduct only if:
(a) they acquired knowledge of the conduct in a manner which would make them a competent witness capable of giving admissible evidence of that conduct in criminal proceedings; or
(b) that they have in their possession or control, anything which would in any such proceedings constitute admissible evidence of the alleged conduct.

The legislation also prevents former officers in certain circumstances from pursuing a complaint as a member of the public if the conduct subject to the complaint took place at a time when they were serving under the direction and control of the same Chief Officer or were a serving police officer at the time of the alleged conduct or at the time when the adverse effects took place or was witnessed (Section 29(4) of PRA).

In some cases 'Whistle-blowers' have been silenced by the application of Section 12, leaving serious matters unchallenged. I have personal experience of being blocked from referring serious allegations of potentially criminal conduct by senior police officers, due to the application of Section 12.

In order to ascertain whether my experience is limited to a single police force or whether the problem is more widespread, I would like to request the following information.

1. The number of complaints made to your Professional Standards Unit, but not formally recorded or proceeded with under the formal complaints procedures, due to the application of Section 12, PRA during the period March 2016 - March 2019.

2. The number of complaints if any, which although could have been excluded under Section 12, were nevertheless were treated as formal complaints and dealt with under the formal complaints procedures, during the period March 2016 - March 2019.

Should you require any clarification please let me know.

Yours faithfully,

Mr L. Anderson

Hampshire Constabulary

1 Attachment

Good Morning

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: HC/00768/19

 

The following request for information under the Freedom of Information Act
was received by the Public Access office at Hampshire Constabulary on the
date listed above:

 

The Police Reform Act 2002, places restrictions on who can make formal a
complaint about police conduct, in some cases it prevents serving officers
and staff from making formal complaints. Where a serving member of staff
wishes to make a complaint, often the only option open to them is to
pursue any issue internally, a process which ultimately is under the
discretion and control of the Chief Constable.

 

"The PRA defines who might be considered to be adversely affected by the
conduct or who may have witnessed the conduct. Pursuant to section 12(3),
a person may only fall into the "adversely affected" category if;

 

(a) They were physically present, or sufficiently nearby when the conduct
took place or the effects occurred that they were able to see or hear the
conduct or its affects, or

 

(b) The adverse effect was attributed to, or was aggravated by the fact
that the person in relation to whom the conduct took place was already
known to them.

 

"Pursuant to section 12(5) of the PRA, a person can be taken to have
witnessed the conduct only if:

(a) they acquired knowledge of the conduct in a manner which would make
them a competent witness capable of giving admissible evidence of that
conduct in criminal proceedings; or

(b) that they have in their possession or control, anything which would in
any such proceedings constitute admissible evidence of the alleged
conduct.

 

The legislation also prevents former officers in certain circumstances
from pursuing a complaint as a member of the public if the conduct subject
to the complaint took place at a time when they were serving under the
direction and control of the same Chief Officer or were a serving police
officer at the time of the alleged conduct or at the time when the adverse
effects took place or was witnessed (Section 29(4) of PRA).

 

In some cases 'Whistle-blowers' have been silenced by the application of
Section 12, leaving serious matters unchallenged. I have personal
experience of being blocked from referring serious allegations of
potentially criminal conduct by senior police officers, due to the
application of Section 12.

 

In order to ascertain whether my experience is limited to a single police
force or whether the problem is more widespread, I would like to request
the following information.

 

1. The number of complaints made to your Professional Standards Unit, but
not formally recorded or proceeded with under the formal complaints
procedures, due to the application of Section 12, PRA during the period
March 2016 - March 2019.

 

2. The number of complaints if any, which although could have been
excluded under Section 12, were nevertheless were treated as formal
complaints and dealt with under the formal complaints procedures, during
the period March 2016 - March 2019.

 

Your request will be considered in accordance with the legislation and you
will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days,
subject to the provisions of the Act.  In the unlikely event that
Hampshire Constabulary is unable to meet the 20 working day deadline, you
will be informed as soon as possible and given a revised time-scale for
response.

 

To be accepted, any clarification(s) to your request must be submitted in
writing directly to the Public Access team at Hampshire Constabulary. 

If your request requires either full or partial transference to another
public authority, you will be informed.  Should you have any further
enquiries concerning this matter, please write or contact Public Access on
telephone number 02380 479 580 quoting the reference number above.

Kind Regards

 

 

Sue Adcock | Public Access

Joint Information Management Unit | Hampshire Constabulary & Thames Valley
Police

Telephone 02380 479580 | Internal 463 1754

Address: Hampshire Constabulary, Mottisfont Court, Tower Street,
Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8ZD.

 

Information Management Helpdesk:

Hampshire :[1][email address] / 02380
479580 (Int 463 1754)

Thames Valley: [2][email address] /
01865 542051 (Int 300 329)

 

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Hampshire Constabulary

1 Attachment

 

 

Mark Farrow | Public Access Officer

Joint Information Management Unit | Hampshire Constabulary & Thames
Valley Police

Telephone 02380 479580 | Internal 4631754

Address Hampshire Constabulary, Mottisfont Court, Tower Street,
Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8ZD

 

Information Management Helpdesk:

Hampshire        [1][email address] / 02380
479580 (internal 463 1760)

Thames Valley   [2][email address] /
01865 542051 (internal 300 6329)

 

 

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Dear Hampshire Constabulary,

Due to some ambiguities within he request I have made I would like to withdraw this request, my apologies for any inconvenience.

Yours faithfully,

Mr L. Anderson

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