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Volunteers wanted to scrutinise police complaints

dyfed powysVOLUNTEERS with an inquiring mind and analytical skills are being sought to scrutinise the Dyfed-Powys Police complaints process.

The successful candidates will form a panel being created to examine public complaint files and to recommend improvements to the force’s system.

Dyfed-Powys Police receive around 700 complaints every year on matters such as neglect of duty, oppressive conduct, incivility and lack of fairness.

From October to December 2013, 203 complaints were received of which 25 were in Pembrokeshire and 46 at force HQ. The Residents’ Panel, being created by Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon, will consider a number of files four times a year.

Mr Salmon said: “The people of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys must trust the police; one way of building that trust is for the public themselves to scrutinise the complaints process.

“The volunteers I seek will be enthusiastic about improving policing. They will have communication skills, will be able to interpret detailed information and will have experience of reviewing or developing services, and evaluating performance. They will be eager to challenge and make balanced judgements.”

Panel members will be over 18, preferably living in Dyfed-Powys and must not be, or have been, on a police force payroll. After training, they will review randomly selected police complaint files and will consider whether, in their view, complaints were dealt with fairly. The panel’s brief may be broadened in future.

Panel meetings to discuss issues raised will take place at a time and place convenient to the volunteers. This could include evening or weekend meetings. Expenses will be paid.

The panel represents an increase in police transparency. More in-depth scrutiny is now applied to the Dyfed-Powys Professional Standards Department (PSD) which handles complaints.

Superintendent Huw Meredith, head of Dyfed-Powys PSD, said: “Dyfed-Powys Police aims to provide a first class service to its communities and expects police officers and staff to behave on and off duty in accordance with the national Standards of Professional Behaviour.

“Unfortunately, there are occasions where the service provided falls below this standard and leads to dissatisfaction and complaints.

“In this event, we aim to establish what went wrong, try to put it right and – where appropriate – offer an apology.

“The Residents” Panel will provide the community an opportunity to scrutinize the complaints process and determine if these complaints have been dealt with fairly.”

Residents’ Panel Info: http://bit.ly/1aooLy6, 01267 226440, opcc@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk.

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Dayne Stone

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