Response to IPCC report on complaints

An  IPCC report  has been published this week into how police officers handle allegations of discrimination.

The review covered three police force areas and suggests a number of recommendations for improvement; many of which WMP has already implemented since the report was carried out between 2012-2013.

Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: "West Midlands Police recognises how we deal with complaints concerning discrimination is an important matter of public interest and one which has a direct bearing on community confidence in policing. We are constantly striving to improve our service to the public and will review the report in detail. We take complaints very seriously and do not tolerate discriminatory behaviour.

"The report draws conclusions across three forces. Within this there are variations in practice. West Midlands Police has been recognised as demonstrating strong performance in monitoring complaints to identify complainants from minority communities.

"There are however concerns over how our lower-level investigations are handled by our local policing units; and how we keep people informed about their complaints. We will review carefully and work with the Police and Crime Commissioner, community members and our staff networks to look again at how we can improve our work. We are absolutely determined to deliver a fairer and transparent service.

"A report of this significance does present opportunities for learning and insight. We are very disappointed the IPCC did not seek to properly engage with us about this work to enable the force to share its approach on improving complaints procedures. The report suggests the forces do not appear to have a good understanding of the communities they serve and we look forward to understanding how the IPCC have reached this conclusion."

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones added, "Local resolutions to complaints can be quicker and more effective, if they are used appropriately and are the approach that the complainant wants.  I would expect that where allegations of discrimination or racism have been made, like other serious allegations, these would generally be dealt with by the central Professional Standards Department, rather than locally.  I will be looking to ensure that the oversight mechanisms for local resolutions are robust and effective. 

"I recognise the need to improve training and investigative capacity, but must note that this ambition hasn't been helped by the government's decision to take £18 million from police Professional Standards Departments to increase the size of the Independent Police Complaints Commission."