Who looks after the complaint process?
The Police Reform Act 2002 governs how complaints against police staff should be dealt with. This act created the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which replaced the Police Complaints Authority. The police record all complaints and each force has a Professional Standards Department (PSD) to receive and investigate complaints.
When can I expect a response from my complaint?
You can expect to hear back within 15 working days about whether a complaint has been recorded and if it has not, the reasons why.
The person looking into your complaint must keep you informed about the progress of the investigation. They should agree with you how you would like to be kept informed – this could be by phone, in person or by letter. You must receive an update at least every 28 days.
How will my complaint be resolved?
Most complaints will be resolved at a local level through a process called local resolution.
Allegations of rudeness, for example, are unlikely to be the subject of a full investigation and will be resolved locally. More serious complaints will be investigated thoroughly or referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
So what is local resolution?
Local resolution is a quick and flexible process, providing you with the opportunity to explain concerns to local officers and receive an adequate response.
Your consent is not required within the local resolution process, but your agreement is needed to establish an effective action plan.
How do I find out what’s happening with an ongoing investigation?
Whether the Police or the IOPC is investigating your complaint, you will be informed about:
- How your complaint will be investigated
- What co-operation they require from you
- How a decision will be reached
- The action that may be taken at the conclusion of an investigation
The investigator will also agree with you how often and by which method you would like to be kept informed.
What will happen when the investigation is finished?
At the end of the investigation we will inform you of the conclusions, which could be:
- Not enough evidence to uphold your complaint. This does not mean that you have not been believed, rather that there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation(s) made.
- We may decide to improve or amend our procedures in response to a complaint.
- We may take formal disciplinary or other management action against a member of staff.
- We may refer your case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on criminal prosecution.
Do I have a right of appeal?
You may have a right of appeal to the Independent Office for Police Conduct or Chief Constable where:
- We have not recorded your complaint.
- We have not made a decision whether to record your complaint.
- We have not informed you of our decision not to record your complaint.
- You believe that local resolution procedure has not been carried out properly.
- You disagree with the action we propose to take as a result of the investigation.
- You have not been provided with adequate information about the findings of the investigation.
- You are not satisfied with the outcome of the police investigation.
You can appeal to the IOPC at the following address:
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)
90 High Holborn
Tel: 0300 020 0096
Can I get an old complaint re-investigated?
When a complaint has been dealt with and closed, it cannot be re-opened or re-investigated.