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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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If you want to make a complaint about the way that your case has been handled by the police, or about any policy or procedure then you should write to the Chief Constable of the Force or to the Divisional Commander for the particular police station.

If your complaint is about a police officer or any member of police staff, then you need to attend at your local police station and ask to speak to a police inspector. You will need to give some very basic details to the person on the reception/ help desk so that the appropriate person can be contacted to deal with your complaint.

Who can I complain about?

  • police officers
  • special constables
  • all police staff, including PCSOs, PEO staff, detention officers, traffic wardens, administrative staff

Can anyone complain?

  • the victim
  • persons adversely affected
  • witnesses
  • anyone acting for any of the above, with their written consent unless it is a solicitor or MP
    through a gateway organisation
  • off duty staff from a different police force

What types of complaints are there?

  • Public complaints about conduct
  • Serious Conduct - these will always be referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (please see below for their details)
  • Direction and Control Matters of strategy and policy
  • Structure and the organisation
  • Deployment of resources and use of budgets
  • Quality of service

If you are not happy with the way your complaint against a police officer or a member of police staff has been handled, then you may be able to appeal through the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Independent Office for Police Conduct
PO Box 473
M33 0BW
Telephone: 0300 020 0096 (press 2 at prompt)

A complaint can be made in languages other than English.

The IOPC has established a multi-agency committee, the Learning the Lessons Committee, with the IOPC and NPCC, APA, HMIC , Home Office and NPIA as members and serviced by the IOPC . The purpose of this Committee is to collect and disseminate lessons from investigations under the police complaints system and it has launched a bulletin to this end.

For more information please see the websites in related information. There is also link to the 'Help for Victims' website and a Youtube video guide to the website.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.