Posted: Thursday 3 May 2012

Lothian and Borders Police awarded second highest rating following PCCS audit

L B audit coverProfessor John McNeill, the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland, has awarded Lothian and Borders Police the second highest rating available following an audit of the force's initial complaint recording practices.

 

Over  1000 records from four different sources were examined by the Commissioner's staff during a two-day audit in February this year: 'A' Division headquarters at St Leonards, the Force Information Unit at St Leonards, 'E' Division headquarters at Dalkeith and the Force Communications Centre at Bilston.

In total four complaints were found not to have been recorded,  all from 'A' Division headquarters. In each case Lothian and Borders Police had dealt with the complaints appropriately, but had not recorded them on the centralised system from which its complaint statistics are drawn.

The first complaint was in a letter was from a woman expressing concern regarding police involvement with an elderly relative who had a medical condition.  Whilst the letter expressed concerns rather than dissatisfaction, the force itself classified it as a complaint and dealt with it as such. 

The second case involved a complaint from a parent regarding the actions of the police, which resulted in the detention of her son at a football match.  .

In another, an email was received by the force in which a victim of a crime complained that the force had not followed procedures properly in recording the crime. The matter appears to have been resolved by explanation, to the satisfaction of the complainer. 

In the final case, a member of the public complained about the way an unidentified marked police vehicle had been driven.  The force made sufficient enquiries and were unable to identify the vehicle and driver.  They responded in an appropriate fashion to the complainer, but as in the other three cases they failed to record the complaint.

In his report published today [3 May 2012] Professor McNeill highlighted also good practice within the force's recently established Compliance and Conciliation Unit. When a complaint is received and assessed as being suitable for conciliation, one of a team of three officers within the unit makes contact by phone to try to resolve the matter, either by explanation or by an apology.

According to Lothian and Borders one in three complaints received is now assessed as being suitable for conciliation, something the Commissioner welcomed saying: "This should be a win-win for everyone. The Compliance and Conciliation Unit offers the possibility of a swift resolution for the public when it is a simple straightforward complaint and frees up valuable resources within the force to deal with other matters."

Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police, Steve Allen said: " I welcome the audit results provided by the PCCS and the confirmation that we have sound systems in relation to complaint recording. Lothian and Borders Police support the guidance provided by the PCCS within 'From Sanctions to Solutions' and aims to ensure a high level of service continues to be provided in this area. This is reflected by the PCCS who highlight the good practice adopted in relation to the early resolution of complaints. We will continue to work with the Commissioner to ensure we maximise the service provided."

Read the full report>>>

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