Local Complaint Resolution
The vast majority of complaints we receive relate to communication and customer service issues involving matters such as rudeness, poor attitude and practice, careless and inadequate service, or a failure to adequately explain lawful police procedures.
The WA Police uses a Local Complaint Resolution (LCR) system to deal with these kinds of complaints. This approach maintains an effective means of dealing with these complaints, whilst maintaining the required level of thoroughness and accountability.
Objectives of Local Complaint Resolution
- To promote and encourage the speedy resolution of complaints of a minor nature, whilst adhering to high standards of thoroughness and accountability.
- To meaningfully demonstrate to members of the public that WA Police takes its complaints seriously and seeks to resolve them in the most appropriate manner.
- To enable members of WA Police to have complaints against them dealt with more appropriately at the local level.
- To empower local supervisors to manage and resolve complaints of a minor nature in their area without recourse to a centralised formal investigative approach.
- To identify aspects of a member's behaviour, conduct/performance which may have contributed to the complaint, enabling supervisors to take appropriate management action.
- To encourage members to be open and accountable in order to achieve the resolution of complaints.
- To attempt to reach an acceptable resolution to every complaint of a minor nature.
- To enable WA Police and the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) to monitor trends and progress in the incidence, causes and resolution of complaints of a minor nature.
About Local Complaint Resolution
- Inquiries to resolve minor complaints by the LCR process can be conducted by Inspectors, Senior Sergeants, Sergeants, and Senior Constables in charge of police stations.
- The Resolving Officer1 must, wherever practicable, be of superior rank to the member/s subject of the complaint. Careful consideration should be given when officers are appointed as Resolving Officers to ensure the officer under investigation is not of identical or superior substantive rank to the Resolving Officer. It is acknowledged this may not always be practicable and is dependent on prevailing circumstances.
- Empowers and requires District/Divisional Superintendents2 to manage all minor complaints and associated behavioural issues within their area.
- LCR matters and associated behavioural issues are treated as local management matters.
- Complaints resolved are not recorded on a member's personal file, unless the management action taken with respect to the subject member includes a Managerial Notice.
- On completion of the resolution process copies of the documentation will be sent to Police Complaints and the CCC.
- LCR matters will be quality assured (Q.A.) by Police Complaints and reviewed by the CCC.
- In a majority of cases where complaints are resolved using the LCR process and managerial action is required, this will be delivered by the subject member's OIC or where considered more appropriate to the circumstances delivered by the District/Divisional Superintendent.
A 30 day time frame is associated with the completion of LCR matters, however it is accepted that there will be instances where this timeframe may need to be extended.
1 "Resolving Officer" refers to the Police Officer responsible for investigating the complaint by way of the LCR process.
2 District/Divisional Superintendent also refers to the equivalent Branch Head.
Complaints handled by LCR can include:
- Complaints relating to demeanour, discourtesy, rudeness, abruptness or any similar act of incivility.
- Complaints alleging careless or inadequate performance in relation to customer service matters, such as a failure to respond promptly, return property, make inquiries, lay charges (minor matters only), return telephone calls and other failure/s to provide adequate service.
- Complaints which may be resolved by explanation, such as those based on a misunderstanding of facts or law, police practices or procedures.
- Complaints of police driving or parking behaviour (excluding serious traffic offences).
- Complaints made by persons who are possibly disturbed or obsessive and the allegations have either been made or considered before or which, by their nature, are consistent with the complainant's known state of mind.
- Complaints of minor use of force associated with an arrest or other lawful police conduct, which may include mere jostling, pushing and shoving without any attendant features such as intimidation, attempts to obtain a confession or exacting retribution.
- Complaints which initially appear to be more serious but which, on further examination and in consultation and agreement with Police Complaints, are deemed to be of a less serious nature and capable of being dealt with by the LCR process (downgraded).
- Such other matters as the Commissioner of Police or the CCC may from time to time determine.
Notwithstanding that a particular complaint may fall within a complaint category to which the LCR process might be applied, investigating officers and Police Complaints are aware of the limitations of the LCR form/template to document and report on complicated scenarios or matters involving multiple issues. In such situations consideration is given to writing a formal report. The overriding considerations must be to:
- properly identify all the issues of complaint;
- adequately describe the means by which a resolution was achieved or conclusion drawn, and
- document the process sufficiently to support the findings, recommendations and any managerial action taken.