Engaging with communities
Our aim is to create a police complaints system that the public trust and are confident will deliver fair, independent and just outcomes. In order to achieve this, it’s essential that we listen, understand and respond to the needs of those who use our services, or those who will use them in the future.
We cannot achieve this in isolation. Building confidence in the police complaints system means working closely with stakeholders and communities to understand and respond to their concerns.
One of our key objectives within our strategic plan is to increase awareness and confidence in our work. To help achieve this, we adapt our planned engagement in each of our regions across England and Wales so that people with the lowest confidence in policing can share their experiences.
We also hold meetings with groups from a range of different backgrounds to discuss our ongoing investigations, to provide information about the right to complain and how to make a complaint, and to learn from them.
Our engagement with communities
Our stakeholders sometimes hold opposing views about our work and the wider police complaints system. We are committed to understanding the different perspectives and motivations of all our stakeholders, including those that are critical of our work. We listen to all perspectives and then take our decisions in an impartial manner as the law requires us to.
Our stakeholders include:
- complainants and their representatives
- bereaved families
- interested parties
- police personnel subjects
- police including chief constables and professional standards departments
- other bodies we oversee e.g. National Crime Agency, and Police and Crime Commissioners
- police accountability organisations, such as His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and the College of Policing (CoP), Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and coroners offices
- Home Office and other statutory bodies that intersect with our work, such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, NHS and local authorities
- communities that engage with, or emerge as a result of our investigations
- voluntary sector and advocacy groups that represent the public, or have an interest in policing
- low confidence groups such as Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and young people
- general public
Our national stakeholder engagement team build relationships and consult with national organisations working across policing.
The team runs our External Stakeholder Reference Group and Youth Panel so that we regularly get advice and challenge from critical friends. They arrange roundtables and regular meetings to increase transparency around our work and make sure we hear from experts and those with lived experiences.
A key focus for the team is to capture stakeholder intelligence and insight, and to make sure this is fed into business planning, operational improvement and information for staff.
We have a team of regional stakeholder engagement officers (SEOs) aligned to each of our six offices across England and Wales. The regional SEOs focus on improving trust and confidence by working closely with those communities who have the lowest confidence in policing and police complaints.
The SEOs work with stakeholders including third sector organisations, advocacy groups and local community and police accountability groups in order to raise awareness and understanding of our work and the wider complaints system.
Each of our SEOs delivers engagement bespoke to these communities within their region and in Wales in a proactive way by attending existing meetings and setting up tailored engagement sessions. They also work reactively by delivering stakeholder engagement following a critical or high profile incident where we have declared an independent investigation.