Q299: How do I make a complaint against the police?
You can direct a complaint to:
- the police force concerned by email, online contact form, telephone, by post or in person. The website for your local force can be found in the following link: Local force contact information or
- to the Independent Office for Police Conduct by using their online contact form (your complaint will be automatically forwarded to the local force): IOPC complaint form
The IOPC independently investigates the most serious and sensitive matters, such as deaths and serious injuries.
A complaint can be made about:
1 any matter which has had an adverse effect on the person making the complaint (or, where the complaint is about the conduct of an individual, that they have witnessed or which happened to them). Complaints may, for example, be about force-wide crime initiatives, the organisation of policing resources and general policing standards. A complain can be made by a member of the public who was adversely affected by the matter complained about, or is acting on behalf of someone who was adversely affected by the matter complained about.
2 the conduct of any person serving with the police, i.e. a police officer, police staff member, special constable, designated volunteer or a person contracted to provide services to a chief officer. Conduct includes any acts, omissions, statements and decisions, whether actual, alleged or inferred. A complaint can be made by a member of the public who: claims to be the person in relation to whom the conduct took place; claims to have been adversely affected by the conduct; claims to have witnessed the conduct; or is acting on behalf of someone who satisfies one of the above three criteria.
If you wish to make a complaint on someone's behalf, you must have their written permission. This does not apply if you are the parent or guardian of a child aged 16 or under and wish to complain on their behalf.
If you have already made a complaint but are unhappy about the outcome, or about the way your complaint has been handled, you can make an application for a review or appeal. Please check the letter you have received about your complaint. This will tell you the outcome of your complaint, whether you can make an application for review or appeal and if so, who should handle your review or appeal - see link in related information.