Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Panel Complaints Subcommittee - Thursday 3 October 2013 2.00 pm

Venue: Chairman's Room - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Stephen Bace x5075 

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman

Minutes:

Cllr Brian Calway was elected as Chairman for the purpose of this meeting.

2.

Exclusion of Public

Minutes:

2.1       The Chairman explained that the Sub-Committee’s role was to facilitate informal resolution: this was about solving, explaining or clearing up, or settling a matter directly with the complainant without an investigation or formal proceedings. It was not a disciplinary process and did not involve any sanction.           

 

2.2       Members had considered submissions from both the complainant and person complained against relating to whether the hearing should be held in exempt session or open to the public. The Sub-Committee understood that the complainant wished to waive their right to non disclosure of information relating to them. Members noted the Commissioner’s view that the hearing should be held in exempt session and the reasons for this.

 

2.3       Some members referred to their experiences of appeal hearings within the Council and explained that those hearings were held in exempt session with the parties being notified of the decision within five working days.

 

2.4       It was recognised that there would be a public record of the meeting through the public minutes and that there was an opportunity for both parties to make representations around whether the outcome of the hearing should be made public.

 

2.5       Members emphasised that the sub-committee had no investigative powers and that the meeting was being held to facilitate informal resolution. In the interests of maintaining this informality, members felt that the meeting should be held in exempt session.

 

RESOLVED: That in accordance with Section 100 A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting because it  was likely that if members of the public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 & 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12 A to the Act (Information relating to an individual and/ or information which is likely to reveal the identify of an individual) the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information to the public.

 

 

3.

Consideration of a non-criminal complaint pdf icon PDF 77 KB

The complaint is concerning the conduct of the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner.

 

Attached is the Sub-Committee protocol.

 

The Sub-Committee’s role is to facilitate informal resolution; this is about solving, explaining or clearing up, or settling a matter directly with the complainant without an investigation or formal proceedings. It is not a disciplinary process and does not involve any sanction.

 

Minutes:

3.1       The Complaints Sub-Committee received a complaint against the Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner.

 

3.2       The Sub-Committee considered the original complaint about comments made by the             Commissioner on a radio programme that had offended the complainant. The complainant was offered the opportunity to add any additional comments. The Panel then asked questions seeking to further clarify the nature of the complaint and to understand what actions the complainant believed could resolve the issue.

 

3.3       The Sub-Committee considered the statement from the Police and Crime Commissioner and discussed why informal resolution had not been possible between the two parties before coming to the hearing. The panel suggested ways in which the complaint may have been resolved including whether an apology may have been an option in the circumstances. 

 

3.4       Members recognised that in the correspondence between the complainant and the Commissioner’s Office the complainant had suggested various actions to resolve the issue. Members questioned whether a compromise could not have been found. The complainant stated that a favourable response from the Commissioner to some of the points raised could have brought forward a resolution.

 

3.5       In response to questions the Commissioner indicated that he had received media training and that he always kept up to date with this. He stated it was never his intention to offend anyone.

 

3.6       Both parties indicated that they did not object to the publication of the outcome of the hearing.

 

3.7       The Sub-Committee noted that their role was to decide whether the complaint had been satisfactorily dealt with and whether there was further action that could have been taken to resolve the complaint. The Sub-Committee felt that in this circumstance they could make recommendations to the Commissioner on a change of practice as well as to suggest what course of action may have resolved the complaint at an earlier stage.

 

 

            RESOLVED: That the following comments and recommendations be passed on to the Police and Crime Commissioner

 

Members appreciate the sensitivity around careers past and present but believe that the radio interview was given in good faith.

 

The Panel recommends that the Commissioner is mindful of the consequences and the need for precision when speaking publicly about named individuals.

 

In addition, the Panel recommends that in circumstances such as this, that the Commissioner personally approves the content and tone of replies to complainants.

 

The Panel are of the opinion that an apology to the complainant would have been a way of resolving the complaint.