Search Legislation

Police Reform Act 2002

Status:

This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Part 1Handling of complaints

Duties to preserve evidence relating to complaints

1(1)Where a complaint is made about the conduct of a chief officer, it shall be the duty of the police authority maintaining his force to secure that all such steps as are appropriate for the purposes of Part 2 of this Act are taken, both initially and from time to time after that, for obtaining and preserving evidence relating to the conduct complained of.

(2)Where—

(a)a complaint is made to a chief officer about the conduct of a person under his direction and control, or

(b)a chief officer becomes aware that a complaint about the conduct of a person under his direction or control has been made to the Commission or to a police authority,

the chief officer shall take all such steps as appear to him to be appropriate for the purposes of Part 2 of this Act for obtaining and preserving evidence relating to the conduct complained of.

(3)The chief officer’s duty under sub-paragraph (2) must be performed as soon as practicable after the complaint is made or, as the case may be, he becomes aware of it.

(4)After that, he shall be under a duty, until he is satisfied that it is no longer necessary to do so, to continue to take the steps from time to time appearing to him to be appropriate for the purposes of Part 2 of this Act for obtaining and preserving evidence relating to the conduct complained of.

(5)It shall be the duty of a police authority to comply with all such directions as may be given to it by the Commission in relation to the performance of its duty under sub-paragraph (1).

(6)It shall be the duty of a chief officer to take all such specific steps for obtaining or preserving evidence relating to any conduct that is the subject-matter of a complaint as he may be directed to take for the purposes of this paragraph by the police authority maintaining his force or by the Commission.

Initial handling and recording of complaints

2(1)Where a complaint is made to the Commission—

(a)it shall ascertain whether the complainant is content for the police authority or chief officer who is the appropriate authority to be notified of the complaint; and

(b)it shall give notification of the complaint to the appropriate authority if, and only if, the complainant is so content.

(2)Where a complaint is made to a police authority, it shall—

(a)determine whether or not it is itself the appropriate authority; and

(b)if it determines that it is not, give notification of the complaint to the person who is.

(3)Where a complaint is made to a chief officer, he shall—

(a)determine whether or not he is himself the appropriate authority; and

(b)if he determines that he is not, give notification of the complaint to the person who is.

(4)Where the Commission—

(a)is prevented by sub-paragraph (1)(b) from notifying any complaint to the appropriate authority, and

(b)considers that it is in the public interest for the subject-matter of the complaint to be brought to the attention of the appropriate authority and recorded under paragraph 11,

the Commission may bring that matter to the appropriate authority’s attention under that paragraph as if it were a recordable conduct matter, and (if it does so) the following provisions of this Schedule shall have effect accordingly as if it were such a matter.

(5)Where the Commission, a police authority or a chief officer gives notification of a complaint under any of sub-paragraphs (1) to (3) or the Commission brings any matter to the appropriate authority’s attention under sub-paragraph (4), the person who gave the notification or, as the case may be, the Commission shall notify the complainant—

(a)that the notification has been given and of what it contained; or

(b)that the matter has been brought to the appropriate authority’s attention to be dealt with otherwise than as a complaint.

(6)Where—

(a)a police authority determines, in the case of any complaint made to the authority, that it is itself the appropriate authority,

(b)a chief officer determines, in the case of any complaint made to that chief officer, that he is himself the appropriate authority, or

(c)a complaint is notified to a police authority or chief officer under this paragraph,

the authority or chief officer shall record the complaint.

(7)Nothing in this paragraph shall require the notification or recording by any person of any complaint about any conduct if—

(a)that person is satisfied that the subject-matter of the complaint has been, or is already being, dealt with by means of criminal or disciplinary proceedings against the person whose conduct it was; or

(b)the complaint has been withdrawn.

Failures to notify or record a complaint

3(1)This paragraph applies where anything which is or purports to be a complaint in relation to which paragraph (2) has effect is received by a police authority or chief officer (whether in consequence of having been made directly or of a notification under that paragraph).

(2)If the police authority or chief officer decides not to take action under paragraph (2) for notifying or recording the whole or any part of what has been received, the authority or chief officer shall notify the complainant of the following matters—

(a)the decision to take no action and, if that decision relates to only part of what was received, the part in question;

(b)the grounds on which the decision was made; and

(c)that complainant’s right to appeal against that decision under this paragraph.

(3)The complainant shall have a right of appeal to the Commission against any failure by the police authority or chief officer to make a determination under paragraph 2 or to notify or record anything under that paragraph.

(4)On an appeal under this paragraph, the Commission shall—

(a)determine whether any action under paragraph 2 should have been taken in the case in question; and

(b)if the Commission finds in the complainant’s favour, give such directions as the Commission considers appropriate to the police authority or chief officer as to the action to be taken for making a determination, or for notifying or recording what was received;

and it shall be the duty of a police authority or chief officer to comply with any directions given under paragraph (b).

(5)Directions under sub-paragraph (4)(b) may require action taken in pursuance of the directions to be treated as taken in accordance with any such provision of paragraph 2 as may be specified in the direction.

(6)The Commission—

(a)shall give notification both to the police authority or, as the case may be, the chief officer and to the complainant of any determination made by it under this paragraph; and

(b)shall give notification to the complainant of any direction given by it under this paragraph to the police authority or chief officer.

(7)The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision—

(a)for the form and manner in which appeals under this paragraph are to be brought;

(b)for the period within which any such appeal must be brought; and

(c)for the procedure to be followed by the Commission when dealing with or disposing of any such appeal.

Reference of complaints to the Commission

4(1)It shall be the duty of the appropriate authority to refer a complaint to the Commission if—

(a)the complaint is one alleging that the conduct complained of has resulted in death or serious injury;

(b)the complaint is of a description specified for the purposes of this sub-paragraph in regulations made by the Secretary of State; or

(c)the Commission notifies the appropriate authority that it requires the complaint in question to be referred to the Commission for its consideration.

(2)In a case where there is no obligation under sub-paragraph (1) to make a reference, the appropriate authority may refer a complaint to the Commission if that authority considers that it would be appropriate to do so so by reason of—

(a)the gravity of the subject-matter of the complaint; or

(b)any exceptional circumstances.

(3)In a case in which a reference under sub-paragraph (1) or (2) is neither made nor required to be made, a police authority may refer a complaint to the Commission if—

(a)it is one in relation to which the chief officer of police of the police force maintained by that authority is the appropriate authority; and

(b)the police authority considers that it would be appropriate to do so reason of—

(i)the gravity of the subject-matter of the complaint; or

(ii)any exceptional circumstances.

(4)Where there is an obligation under this paragraph to refer a complaint to the Commission, it must be so referred within such period as may be provided for by regulations made by the Secretary of State.

(5)Subject to sub-paragraph (7), the following powers—

(a)the power of the Commission by virtue of sub-paragraph (1)(c) to require a complaint to be referred to it, and

(b)the power of a police authority or chief officer to refer a complaint to the Commission under sub-paragraph (2) or (3),

shall each be exercisable at any time irrespective of whether the complaint is already being investigated by any person or has already been considered by the Commission.

(6)A police authority or chief officer which refers a complaint to the Commission under this paragraph shall give a notification of the making of the reference—

(a)to the complainant, and

(b)except in a case where it appears to that authority or chief officer that to do so might prejudice a possible future investigation of the complaint, to the person complained against.

(7)A complaint that has already been referred to the Commission under this paragraph on a previous occasion—

(a)shall not be required to be referred again under this paragraph unless the Commission so directs; and

(b)shall not be referred in exercise of any power conferred by this paragraph unless the Commission consents.

Duties of Commission on references under paragraph 4

5(1)It shall be the duty of the Commission in the case of every complaint referred to it by a police authority or chief officer, to determine whether or not it is necessary for the complaint to be investigated.

(2)Where the Commission determines under this paragraph that it is not necessary for a complaint to be investigated, it may, if it thinks fit, refer the complaint back to the appropriate authority to be dealt with by that authority in accordance with paragraph 6.

(3)Where the Commission refers a complaint back under sub-paragraph (2), it shall give a notification of the making of the reference back—

(a)to the complainant, and

(b)except in a case where it appears to the Commission that to do so might prejudice a possible future investigation of the complaint, to the person complained against.

Handling of complaints by the appropriate authority

6(1)This paragraph applies where a complaint has been recorded by the appropriate authority unless the complaint—

(a)is one which has been, or must be, referred to the Commission under paragraph 4; and

(b)is not for the time being either referred back to the authority under paragraph 5 or the subject of a determination under paragraph 15.

(2)Subject to paragraph 7, the appropriate authority shall determine whether or not the complaint is suitable for being subjected to local resolution, and—

(a)if it determines that it is so suitable and the complainant consents, it shall make arrangements for it to be so subjected; and

(b)in any other case, it shall make arrangements for the complaint to be investigated by that authority on its own behalf.

(3)A determination that a complaint is suitable for being subjected to local resolution shall not be made unless either—

(a)the appropriate authority is satisfied that the conduct complained of (even if it were proved) would not justify the bringing of any criminal or disciplinary proceedings; or

(b)the Commission, in a case falling within sub-paragraph (4), has approved the use of local resolution.

(4)The Commission may approve the use of local resolution in the case of any complaint if, on an application by the appropriate authority, the Commission is satisfied—

(a)that the following two conditions are fulfilled—

(i)that the conduct complained of (even if it were proved) would not justify the bringing of any criminal proceedings; and

(ii)that any disciplinary proceedings the bringing of which would be justified in respect of that conduct (even if it were proved) would be unlikely to result in a dismissal, a requirement to resign or retire, a reduction in rank or other demotion or the imposition of a fine;

or

(b)that it will not be practicable (even if the complaint is thoroughly investigated) for either of the following to be brought—

(i)criminal proceedings in respect of the conduct to which it relates that would be likely to result in a conviction; or

(ii)disciplinary proceedings in respect of that conduct that would be likely to result in a dismissal, a requirement to resign or retire, a reduction in rank or other demotion or the imposition of a fine.

(5)No more than one application may be made to the Commission for the purposes of sub-paragraph (4) in respect of the same complaint.

(6)Before a complainant can give his consent for the purposes of this paragraph to the local resolution of his complaint he must have been informed of his rights of appeal under paragraph 9.

(7)A consent given for the purposes of this paragraph shall not be capable of being withdrawn at any time after the procedure for the local resolution of the complaint has been begun.

Dispensation by the Commission from requirements of Schedule

7(1)If, in a case in which paragraph (6) applies, the appropriate authority considers—

(a)that it should handle the complaint otherwise than in accordance with this Schedule or should take no action in relation to it, and

(b)that the complaint falls within a description of complaints specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this paragraph,

the appropriate authority may apply to the Commission, in accordance with the regulations, for permission to handle the complaint in whatever manner (if any) that authority thinks fit.

(2)The appropriate authority shall notify the complainant about the making of the application under this paragraph.

(3)Where such an application is made to the Commission, it shall, in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State—

(a)consider the application and determine whether to grant the permission applied for; and

(b)notify its decision to the appropriate authority and the complainant.

(4)Where an application is made under this paragraph in respect of any complaint, the appropriate authority shall not, while the application is being considered by the Commission, take any action in accordance with the provisions of this Schedule (other than under paragraph 1) in relation to that complaint.

(5)Where the Commission gives permission under this paragraph to handle the complaint in whatever manner (if any) the appropriate authority thinks fit, the authority—

(a)shall not be required by virtue of any of the provisions of this Schedule (other than paragraph 1) to take any action in relation to the complaint; but

(b)may handle the complaint in whatever manner it thinks fit, or take no action in relation to the complaint, and for the purposes of handling the complaint may take any step that it could have taken, or would have been required to take, but for the permission.

(6)Where the Commission determines that no permission should be granted under this paragraph—

(a)it shall refer the matter back to the appropriate authority for the making of a determination under paragraph 6(2); and

(b)the authority shall then make that determination.

(7)No more than one application may be made to the Commission under this paragraph in respect of the same complaint.

Local resolution of complaints

8(1)The arrangements made by the appropriate authority for subjecting any complaint to local resolution may include the appointment of a person who—

(a)is serving with the police, and

(b)is under the direction and control of the chief officer of police of the relevant force,

to secure the local resolution of the complaint.

(2)The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision—

(a)for the different descriptions of procedures that are to be available for dealing with a complaint where it is decided it is to be subjected to local resolution;

(b)for requiring a person complained against in a case in which the complaint is subjected to local resolution to be given an opportunity of commenting, in such manner as may be provided for in the regulations, on the complaint;

(c)for requiring that, on the making of an application in accordance with the regulations, a record of the outcome of any procedure for the local resolution of any complaint is to be given to the complainant.

(3)A statement made by any person for the purposes of the local resolution of any complaint shall not be admissible in any subsequent criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings except to the extent that it consists of an admission relating to a matter that has not been subjected to local resolution.

(4)If, after attempts have been made to resolve a complaint using local resolution, it appears to the appropriate authority—

(a)that the resolution of the complaint in that manner is impossible, or

(b)that the complaint is, for any other reason, not suitable for such resolution,

it shall make arrangements for the complaint to be investigated by that authority on its own behalf.

(5)The local resolution of any complaint shall be discontinued if—

(a)any arrangements are made under sub-paragraph (4);

(b)the Commission notifies the appropriate authority that it requires the complaint to be referred to the Commission under paragraph 4; or

(c)the complaint is so referred otherwise than in pursuance of such a notification.

(6)A person who has participated in any attempt to resolve a complaint using local resolution shall be disqualified for appointment under any provision of this Schedule to investigate that complaint, or to assist with the carrying out of the investigation of that complaint.

Appeals relating to local resolution

9(1)Subject to sub-paragraph (2), a complainant whose complaint has been subjected to local resolution shall have a right of appeal to the Commission against the conduct of the local resolution of that complaint.

(2)The only matter that shall fall to be determined on an appeal under this paragraph is whether there have been any contraventions of the procedural requirements relating to the local resolution of the complaint.

(3)Where an appeal is brought under this paragraph, it shall be the duty of the Commission to give both—

(a)the person complained against, and

(b)the appropriate authority,

an opportunity of making representations about the matters to which the appeal relates.

(4)On an appeal under this paragraph, the Commission shall determine whether there have been any contraventions of the procedural requirements relating to the local resolution of the complaint.

(5)Where the Commission finds in the complainant’s favour on an appeal under this paragraph—

(a)it shall give such directions as the Commission considers appropriate to the appropriate authority as to the future handling of the complaint; and

(b)it shall be the duty of the appropriate authority to comply with any directions given to it under this sub-paragraph.

(6)Where the Commission determines for the purposes of sub-paragraph (5) that the future handling of the complaint should include an investigation, paragraph 15 shall apply as it applies in the case of a determination mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) of that paragraph.

(7)The Commission—

(a)shall give notification to the appropriate authority, to the complainant and to the person complained against of any determination made by it under this paragraph; and

(b)shall give notification to the complainant and to the person complained against of any direction given by it under this paragraph to the appropriate authority.

(8)The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision—

(a)for the form and manner in which appeals under this paragraph are to be brought;

(b)for the period within which any such appeal must be brought; and

(c)for the procedure to be followed by the Commission when dealing with or disposing of any such appeal.

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

You have chosen to open The Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open The Whole Act as a PDF

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open the Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

See additional information alongside the content

Show Explanatory Notes for Sections: Displays relevant parts of the explanatory notes interweaved within the legislation content.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources
Close

More Resources

Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • correction slips

Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including:

  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • links to related legislation and further information resources