Lancashire Police have admitted (allegedly intentionally) providing a victim of crime with the incorrect appeal body.
When a complaint is made against the Police, a prima facie review of the complaint triggers, before investigation, the correct appeal body.
For many complaints, normally classed as less significant, the appeal body stays within the Police and the final appeal is to the Chief Constable of the force, Chief Constable Steve Finnigan in this case.
Some may say that, the Police try to keep all complaints ‘in house’ so they retain full control of the complaint, and in most cases then decide NFA (no further action). After an NFA decision by the ‘chosen appeal body’ there is NO FURTHER APPEAL, unless, you choose the costly and complex judicial review process.
A serious complaint against a Lancashire Detective Sergeant, Andy Langton, relating to him disclosing confidential details about a 13 year old child, was made formally to Lancashire Police. The crime, prima facie is criminal and civil, it potentially breaches Misconduct in a Public Office and Principal 1 of the Data Protection Act (unlawful disclose of data), not to mention the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, yet, the RAB (Relevant Appeal Body) was quickly assigned to the Chief Constable of Lancashire, and NOT the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) which was clearly the correct RAB.
The victim of this was unaware of this process but due to the fact they have a secondary data breach complaint against Lancashire, they noticed that both complaints had different RAB. The complaint that appeared ‘more serious’ was being kept away from the IPCC?
On querying this with the IPCC and Lancashire Police, the victims received a very lengthy letter from Lancashire PSD explaining how the Chief Constable was the correct RAB for this and that there was not changing this. The victims pursued via their Local MP, Rosie Cooper and the IPCC. The IPCC have contacted Lancashire Police and in told then they are wrong!
The following excerpt taken from the IPCC Website
- The IPCC would have a call-in power giving us the ability to make decisions on the exceptional cases where the content is of a serious nature and we are not satisfied that the force has reached the correct relevant appeal body decision.
Basically, this says, the IPCC will step in , in ‘exceptional cases’ where the Police have selected the ‘wrong’ appeal body for complaint of a ‘serious nature’.
Lancashire Police Investigation Support Assistant, Jane Mills, who has had a ‘distaste’ towards the victims, has now sent a letter to the family of the victim sending their apology.
Without pressure from the victims family, this complaint would have been ‘kept in house’ and Chief Constable Steve Finnigan would have had the last say which would have almost certainly been, NFA.
This raises the questions,
- Do Lancashire Police choose the correct RAB for other victims of crime?
- Do Lancashire Police intentionally try to keep complaints ‘in house’?
- Do Lancashire Police really have the best interests of the public in mind?