DYFED-Powys Police is to change the way it handles complaints from the public following a recent review of its procedures.

The review, carried out by an independent Residents’ Panel, suggested improvements in the use of language by the force Professional Standards Department (PSD) when writing to the public.

Panel members said letters to complainants were impersonal, intimidating and process-driven. They also felt correspondence lacked empathy and failed to take into account how the process impacted the complainant.

Letters headed ‘Complaint against the Police’ were seen as intimidating and inappropriate when the complaint was not in relation to an allegation of intimidating behaviour by an officer or staff member.

Superintendent Richard Lewis, head of Dyfed-Powys PSD, said: “The work of the Residents’ Panel has already had a positive impact on our handling of complaints.

“We will continue to work closely with the Residents’ Panel in this new and innovative way.”

Panel chair Anthony Richards said: “Our work means that the public themselves are scrutinising this complaints process.

“The panel will further build trust between the people of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys and their police force.”

There was praise for the comprehensive nature of some complaints reports.

The panel plans to produce another report late this summer.

Details of the complaints review process can be found at: dyfed-powys.pcc.police.uk