None of the 170 letters received about Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes’ controversial documentary have been recorded as official complaints.
In a special report, police and crime panel policy officer Mike Campbell ruled that none of them amounted to a complaint and therefore shouldn’t be recorded as such. He said there was “a high level of correspondence in a variety of forms” after the screening of Meet the Commissioner on Channel 4, which were “roughly 40 per cent positive and 60 per cent negative”. Mr Campbell added:
The critical comments were similar to those made in the media. They included criticism of the number of staff in her office, criticism of those who advised her to take part, criticism of the PCC’s salary, and criticism of her performance during several incidents shown on the programme.
In my judgement, none of the criticisms amounted to a complaint against the commissioner and I therefore agree with the decision of her chief of staff to treat them all as correspondence to be replied to rather than complaints to be recorded.
A few of the correspondents wrote back after the Commissioner’s response to reiterate criticisms, but there were no complaints about the way their original correspondence had been dealt with. A minority made highly offensive remarks about the Commissioner personally and about her staff. In all cases their comments were ignored and a courteous reply sent.