If You Think A Police Officer Has Broken The Law
If you believe that a police officer has broken the law, whether on duty or off duty, you can:
- complain to Police Scotland – the officer could be disciplined or, in rare cases, prosecuted
- ask for a criminal investigation – by contacting the Procurator Fiscal.
If you were injured in a violent crime, you could also claim compensation.
What Are Police Complaints
Complaints are investigated by the polices local Professional Standards Department and the Independent Office for Police Conduct . The IOPC replaced the Independent Police Complaints Commission on 8 January 2018. The Independent Office for Police Conduct oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales.
The IOPC defines complaints against the police as:
an expression of dissatisfaction with the way someone has been treated or with the service they have received.
Police complaints are internal disciplinary matters in which no civil claim for compensation can be made.
Instead, if successful, the police complaint can result in advice being given to the police officer concerned, additional training, formal warnings, or even dismissal.
The police complaints procedure is governed by statutory guidance issued by the IOPC. This guidance supports the legislation in the Policing and Crime Act 2017 and other Home Office regulations. The IOPC revises its guidance periodically.
What Happens When I Complain
The police force will decide if they need to record your complaint. If your complaint needs to be recorded, the police should do this as soon as possible. Only recorded complaints are dealt with.
There is no time limit on how long a police force will take to deal with your complaint. However, once the complaint is assigned to someone, they should tell you how long it is likely to take.
Unless alternative arrangements are made, you should receive an update on the progress of your complaint at least once every 28 days
If they decide not to record your complaint, they should explain the reasons why. If the police dont record your complaint, or dont write to you at all, you can appeal.
How will the police deal with my recorded complaint?
There are different ways that the police force can deal with your complaint. They should tell you how they are going to deal with it.
You could ask for a copy of their complaints procedure.
Local resolutionThis means the police will deal with your complaint at a local level. Local resolution is usually used for less serious complaints. Less serious complaints are usually complaints that wont end up in court.
The outcome of your complaint may be:
- an explanation,
- satisfying you that appropriate action is being taken because of your complaint.
You will get a letter from the police to explain:
- the outcome of your complaint, and
- information about your right to appeal.
This person should tell you:
You will get a letter from the police to explain:
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What Happens After You Complain
The police will investigate your complaint. Find out how complaints are handled by Police Scotland .
The police may decide to:
- take no further action
- give officers more training, counselling or advice
- discipline an officer.
You should be told the outcome of the investigation as soon as possible. You may only be told about the outcome in a general way as the investigation is confidential. These confidential documents cannot be used in any subsequent legal actions for damages against the police.
How Can I Complain About A Relative Or Friends Experience
You can help a loved one to complain if they want you to.
You could do the following things.
- Give them information about how the complaints process works.
- Explain to your loved one how the complaints process works.
- Help them to write their complaint.
- Find out who to send the complaint to.
- Help to monitor progress of the complaint.
Can I complain on my relative or friends behalf?
Your loved one should give their consent to say that they are happy for you to take a complaint forward on their behalf. Get written consent from your loved one to do this. If you dont have consent the office may not accept your complaint.
Can I complain about something that has affected me?
You can make a complaint about how the police or police staff have behaved if you have been affected. You can complain even if this behaviour was not directed towards you. For example, your loved one may be more unwell because of police behaviour. This may mean that you need to give them more support.
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How To Make A Complaint To The Iopc
Independent Office for Police Conduct oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales and sets the standards by which the police should handle complaints.
The IOPC does not have the power to record a complaint, therefore your initial complaint should be made directly to us using the options outlined above.
If you raise a complaint to the IOPC, it must, by law, be forwarded back to the force involved for consideration.
The IOPC will only conduct independent investigations into incidents that cause the greatest level of public concern.
A copy of the complaints form in easy read, large print, foreign languages is available on the IOPC website. See the video below to watch a British Sign Language video about making a complaint.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will also direct your complaint to Nottinghamshire Police for oversight in the first instance.
Once an investigation has been conducted you may refer your complaint for a review to the relevant review body. Depending on the complaint this will either be reviewed by the IOPC or the OPCC. You will be informed in writing as to which is the review body for the purposes of your complaint. They will then perform an independent review if required.
How An Appeal Is Processed
Within 30 days of receiving your appeal, the Law Enforcement Review Board will:
- direct the affected organization a police service or the Alberta government to provide the board and all appeal parties with the information they used to make either the initial:
- cancellation of your peace officer appointment
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How To Lodge A Complaint With The Commissioner Of Police
To lodge a formal complaint with the Commissioner of Police you must do so in writing. You must lodge your complaint online, OR complete the Complaint Form AND: lodge it or mail the complaint form to, your local police station, or. mail the completed complaint form to the Customer Assistance Unit at P.O.
Can I Get Compensation If I Prove My Police Complaint
In themselves, complaints against the police do not result in civil claims for compensation, even if they upheld.
But upheldcomplaints can help compensation claimsagainst the police where a civil infringement is confirmed in the written report.
It is important to note that, even if your complaint has been upheld, the police may still defend your compensation claim.
This is because the civil law applies to compensation claims against the police. This includes proving an actionable loss to the required standard of proof.
Consequently, complaints upheld for minor infringements of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, do not, in themselves, mean that you are entitled to compensation. These include things like:
-being refused a drink of water or blanket while in police custody
-asking for, but not getting, a copy of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act to read
-a delay in being given your statutory phone call
-being visited in the cell too much/ not enough
-a finding that the police officer were rude or used bad language.
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How Police Complaints Are Handled
There are three ways the authorities deal with police complaints:
1. local resolution
3. a direct referral to the IOPC.
1. Local Resolution
Local resolution, is considered by the IOPC to be the appropriate approach for most complaints. It can result in an apology and change of police force policy or procedures, but NOT misconduct or criminal proceedings. The outcome should be confirmed by the police in writing.
As there is usually a right of appeal only to a Chief Officer, not the IOPC, and there is no right of appeal in direction and control cases, local resolution is usually not appropriate for matters which also involve civil actions against the police .
2. Local Investigation
Local Investigation is used where local resolution is not considered appropriate. It has a stricter procedure and terms of reference are set in advance. The complainant should be updated every 28 days.
Unlike local resolution, it can result in sanctions for the police officers involved, e.g. misconduct hearings and final written warnings. As before, the outcome should be confirmed in writing, often with the investigation report, which can prove useful for any subsequent civil compensation claim.
Note that unlike most local resolutions, in certain criteria there is a right of appeal to the IOPC .
3. Direct Referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct
the purpose of pursuing an improper emotional relationship
-a relevant offence
Who Makes Complaints Against The Police
Section 12 of the Police Reform Act states that a complaint may be made by any of the following:
-a member of the public who claims that the conduct took place in relation to him or her
-a member of the public who claims to have been adversely affected by the conduct, even though it did not take place in relation to him or her
-a member of the public who claims to have witnessed the conduct
-a person acting on behalf of someone who falls within any of the three categories above.
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If You’re Unhappy With How Your Complaint Was Handled
You can refer the issue to the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner for a complaint handling review. This is free and independent.
You should do this within 3 months of the date you got the result of your original complaint.
The PIRC does not investigate the substance of a complaint. The Commissioner’s role is to review the way that the complaint was handled by the police. After investigating the complaint, the Commissioner can tell a police body to reconsider the complaint.
If you want to complain about how the PIRC has handled the review, such as unreasonable delays, you can use the PIRC internal complaints process. There is information about internal complaints on the PIRC website.
What Types Of Complaints Should Be Accepted
Filing a complaint against a police officer should be relatively easy with as many access points as possible. The types of complaints that an agency chooses to accept will have major implications on staffing needs, system costs, and case processing delays. A lot will depend on the nature and level of distrust of police and/or a lack of confidence in the ability of the police to treat complaints objectively and take their complaints seriously. When determining what complaints will be accepted, the following factors, along with the authority/jurisdiction of the oversight agency must be considered:
A. Readily-accessible complaint forms will likely be available at the oversight agency, local police station, or online. The complaint process usually begins with the complainant submitting a complaint form or making a verbal complaint against an officer. Citizens can also call the agency and request that a form be mailed to them. Complaint forms can also be submitted via fax, hand delivery, or email.
D. Requiring complainants and witnesses to be Mirandized before submitting a formal complaint is discouraged because it is often associated with being in police custody and/or being arrested on the suspicion of committing a crime. Such a practice could have a chilling effect on individuals coming forward to file complaints.
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Why Might I Want To Complain
Dealing with the police can be a stressful experience. You can complain if you are not happy with the service the police have given you. You can complain about the behaviour of police officers or members of police staff. Or you can complain about how the service is run. You may feel that police officers or police staff:
- treated you badly,
- did not act in line with your rights,
- did not follow correct policies and procedures,
- treated you unfairly because of your mental health. This may be discrimination, or
- actions have had a negative effect on you. Even if it was not directed towards you.
The Standards of Professional Behaviour explain how police officers should act. They should:
- be honest and not abuse their powers,
- act with self-control and tolerance and treat you with respect,
- respect your rights
- treat you fairly and not discriminate, and
- only use the right amount of force when they need to.
- treat your information with respect and only access it or share it, in line with their job
What Happens After The Police Investigate My Complaint
After the police have finished investigating your complaint, they will tell you what will happen next. They may:
- apologise to you,
- change their policies or procedures,
- speak to the person you complained about to improve their performance,
- refer your complaint to the Independent Office for Police Conduct if they think something serious has happened, or
- refer your complaint to the Crown Prosecution Service if they believe that a member of staff has committed a crime.
Unfortunately, the police may not always have enough evidence to take any action. If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint, you can appeal.
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Some Communities In Bc Are Policed By A Local Police Force
Eleven municipalities in BC are policed by their own police force. Most are in the Lower Mainland , and Greater Victoria . Nelson also has their own police force.
This information deals with concerns relating to a member of a municipal police force.
Other communities in BC are policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. If you have a complaint about the RCMP, see our information on complaints against the RCMP.
What Should I Do If My Police Complaint Has Been Upheld By The Iopc Or The Police Force Involved
Despite the warnings above, every case is different. If your complaint has been upheld by the IOPC or by the police force involved find out if you are also entitled to compensation by completing the online form on this page or call us on 08000 124 246.
We may be able to help with you with your actions against the police.
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What Can I Complain About
The OIPRD accepts complaints about the conduct of a police officer, or the policies or services of a police service.
- Conduct complaints are about the behaviour of a police officer
- Policy complaints are about the rules and standards of a police service that guide how an officer delivers police services
- Service complaints relate to how effectively and efficiently a particular service performs its duties
What Information Should You Provide
When making a complaint you should provide as much detail as possible to assist us to respond appropriately to your complaint. The information you should try to include is:
- Your name and contact details
- a detailed description of what happened
- date, time and location of the incident
- the names of people involved, or who could otherwise assist us to resolve your complaint
- the names of the NSW Police Force employees involved
- details of any documents, records, witnesses etc, that may assist in the resolution of your complaint
- what you expect the NSW Police Force to do about your concern and
- any other information you consider relevant.
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When Should A Complaint Be Filed
Its possible for a citizen to complain about a police officer for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they failed to adequately identify themselves or used demeaning language. Police officers also are not allowed to discriminate against citizens for any reason whatsoever.
These are examples of when a police officer complaint may be necessary.
How Do I Make A Complaint About The Police
Question & Answer
If you’re concerned about how you were treated by the police, you can make a complaint. For example, you can make a complaint if:
- you were offended by something a police officer said or did to you
- you weren’t satisfied with the service the police gave you
- you’re concerned about how a relative or friend was treated by the police
- your property was damaged by the police
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Complaint Letter Against Police
A complaint letter to the chief of police of misconduct involving a police officer.
If you are directly affected by the conduct or behaviour of a police officer, or any unfair practice or procedure adopted by the police force, and feel aggrieved about it, you can make a complaint. You can lodge your complaint to any police station or to a specific police complaint unit within your jurisdiction.
Complaints Against The Psni
The Police Ombudsman’s Office provides an independent and impartial service for dealing with complaints against the police.
The Police Ombudsman’s Office look at evidence to decide whether police officers have acted properly or not. They also investigate complaints against some, but not all, civilian employees of the police. This includes employees performing custody or escort duties for the police.
Their decisions are made entirely independently of the police, government and complainants.
You do not have to pay to complain to them.
The Police Ombudsman deals with complaints against:
- The Police Service of Northern Ireland
- National Crime Agency officers in Northern Ireland
- The Belfast Harbour Police
- The Belfast International Airport Police
- The Ministry of Defence police in Northern Ireland
- Immigration officers and some customs officials in Northern Ireland
How to make a complaint
You can make a complaint:
- Online via their website
- Telephone – please call 0300 123 2989
Police Ombudsman of Northern IrelandNew Cathedral BuildingsBelfastBT1 1PG
The Police Ombudsmans offices are open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Please call 0300 123 2989 to make an appointment.
* Telephone calls may be recorded for joint protection, training and other lawful purposes.
Please try to give the Police Ombudsman’s Office as much information as you can about the incident you are complaining about, including such things as:
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