Dear Dorset Police,

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

.Freedom of Information, Dorset Police

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.Freedom of Information, Dorset Police

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Anderson

 

Please find attached the response to your above numbered Freedom of
Information Request.

 

Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Chris Fitzgerald

Alliance Freedom of Information Officer

Devon & Cornwall Police Headquarters, Middlemoor

Tel: 01392 226220 (Mon-Fri)

Email: [1][email address] or
[2][email address]

 

Alliance Information Management Department

Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police

Working together to serve the public

 

[3]cid:image001.png@01D31516.49831EB0

 

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E-mail should not be regarded as a secure means of communication, we take
all reasonable steps to ensure that e-mails are protected from malware,
but cannot accept liability for any loss or damage, howsoever arising, as
a result of their transmission to the recipients' computer or network.
*************************************************************************
For more information, or to contact us, please visit us at
[4]www.devon-cornwall.police.uk or [5]www.dorset.police.uk or e-mail
[6][email address] or [7][email address]

References

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4. http://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/
5. http://www.dorset.police.uk/
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7. mailto:[email address]