Did seven members of PSD breach policy ?

The short answer is yes !

A detailed complaint was submitted to Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt on the 31st July 2014 outlining how seven members of the Professional Standards Department have sent documents classified as RESTRICTED via unencrypted email to my email address which is obviously not in the ‘approved list of email domains’.

South Yorkshire Polices Information Security policy doc ref D51075 states explicitly that documents classified as RESTRICTED should not be sent to ANY email address that is not in the pnn, gsi, gsx or .cjsm domains.

Over the last 18 months, 7 officers from the Professional Standards Department of South Yorkshire Police have breached this policy by sending me such documents.

D51075 states that the penalty for breach of this section of the policy ranges from Minor breaches may lead to a verbal or written warning or a PDJ entry with Major breaches may lead to a formal warning, suspension or termination of employment.

As all officers are required under this policy to sign an annual declaration (ADM75) confirming their understanding and commitment to adherence to this policy this is going to be a tricky one for the Senior Command Team to deal with.

As part of the annual declaration section, it is stated that any breach of this policy could result in the withdrawal of all information systems will be considered and the Head of Professional Standards will be informed – that’s going to be interesting given that one of the officers is the Head of Professional Standards !

I received no response to this complaint so on the 16th August I referred it to the IPCC as a non-recording appeal. Over the next couple of weeks it became clear that SYP were feeding the IPCC with incorrect reference numbers claiming they had dealt with the matter already. I continued to chase DCC Holt via email for a response and finally on the 4th Sept I received an email from Maxine Agar, PA to DCC Holt informing me that a letter had been sent to me that very day, the letter arrived on the 8th Sept.

The letter acknowledges the complaint, formally records the complaint and in one fell swoop resolves the complaint by using ‘on the spot local resolution’.

DCC Holt finds there is no complaint to uphold as he claims the officers sent the documents ‘in good faith’ citing timescales relating to a non-existent appeal to the IPCC as the reason. I’ve read that policy cover to cover and there is no ‘in good faith’ clause.

As the complaint was sent down the Local Resolution track, despite me saying in my complaint letter that I felt this was suitable for Local Investigation, the appeal body is South Yorkshire Police themselves. This is wrong on so many levels as the appeal body works in the same office as the officers the subject of the complaint and of course, the head of PSD is the appeal body’s boss !


psd_structThe structure chart above shows that the Appeal Authority (Executive Caseworker) has a direct reporting line into the Appropriate Authority of which there are 3 DCI officers. From my dealings with SYP I know these to be DCI Diane Darbyshire, DCI Karen Kidger and A/DCI David Butler.

20th Dec 2014 - A letter has been sent to CC Crompton questioning a number of issues relating to this complaint.

As of 6th Jan 2015 I had received no acknowledgement or response so I chased this up. Sgt Collings, staff officer to DCC Holt, responded saying that 'Mr Crompton has been made aware of its contents'.

As no response had been received, chaser emails were sent on the 9th,13th,15th,16th of Jan. 

On the 19th Jan I received this from Sgt Collings 'Mr Crompton is currently away from HQ but I will endeavour to provide you with a response as soon as I am able.'

Getting increasingly concerned that a letter sent to CC Crompton complaining about DCC Holt is being handled by DCC Holts Staff Officer !

6 Weeks have passed and still there has been no response from CC Crompton. The letter raised 8 key issues with the way DCC Holt handled this complaint which in their own right amount to a complaint against DCC Holt.

2nd Feb I received this from Sgt Collings
Mr Crompton has returned from leave and has reviewed the letter you kindly provided. Clearly your letter raises some issues that require further investigation and, as such, he has asked for some more time to initiate those enquiries. Someone from South Yorkshire Police will be in touch shortly to progress this matter. 

I have now brought this matter to the attention of the PCC office and they are ‘making informal enquiries’ but it will take them 2 weeks to do so !

Insp Matt Collings emailed me on Fri 6th to say a letter had been sent to me that afternoon. As of Tues 10th Feb, the letter has not arrived :-(