The future of the police complaints system in England and Wales is in a state of deep uncertainty. There is widespread agreement that the current approach has major shortcomings and that the problems cannot be solved simply by providing more resources. But there is much less agreement about what better arrangements would look like. The 17th Oxford Policing Policy Forum considered some of the fundamental questions about the role and value of effective complaints procedures including:
- What do we want an effective police complaints system to achieve?
- Have we got the balance right between informal resolution and formal avenues of redress?
- How do we improve the service provided to complainants?
- Are the police good at learning wider lessons from cases of malpractice?
- Do the police need to do better at encouraging ‘whistle-blowing’ and protecting ‘whistle-blowers’?
- What legislative and procedural changes are need to improve the complaints system?