Make a complaint
What can I complain about?
Police officers and members of police staff are expected to meet the following standards:
- Act with honesty and integrity, fairness and impartiality
- Treat you and their colleagues with respect
- Not abuse their powers and authority
- Act in a way that does not discredit or undermine your confidence in our service.
If you feel that someone who works for Sussex Police has not met these standards then you can make a complaint.
Who can make a complaint?
You can make a complaint if you are a member of the public who:
- Has been the victim of the misconduct by a person serving with the police. Misconduct could include a police officer or member of police staff being rude to you or using excessive force. It could also include unlawful arrest or an abuse of your rights.
- Was present when the alleged misconduct took place, or close enough to see or hear the misconduct, and as a result suffered loss, damage, distress or inconvenience, or was put in danger or at risk.
- Is a friend or relative of the victim of the alleged misconduct, distressed by the effects of the incident on the victim.
- Has witnessed the alleged misconduct.
- Is acting on behalf of any of the above. Please note that if you would like someone to make a complaint on your behalf, you must give them your consent in writing unless they are from a body such as a Citizens Advice Bureau.
How do I make a complaint?
You can make a complaint directly to Sussex Police or another advice organisation. Whatever the route, all complaints, by law, must be recorded by the police force itself. Complaints can be made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission however these will be directed straight to Sussex Police.
If you want to make a complaint you can:
- Go into any police station and ask for your complaint to be recorded. A police officer or member of police staff will speak to you about your complaint and explain your options.
- Complete the online complaint form at the bottom of this page.
- Contact Sussex Police via phone on 101. People with hearing or speech difficulties can use a text phone on our Minicom number 01273 483435 (please ensure you use the 01273 area code). Our accessible contact methods page has further information.
- If however, you wish to contact Sussex Police about any other, NON-EMERGENCY issue then please contact us online.
- Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, Racial Equality Council, Neighbourhood Warden, Youth Offending Team or Probation Service, all of whom can provide information.
- Contact a solicitor or your MP and ask them to make a complaint for you.
- Nominate a person to act on your behalf (they must have your written consent).
How will my complaint be dealt with?
Your initial complaint will be recorded by the Professional Standards Department (PSD) of Sussex Police. Once this has been noted as being about the conduct of the police officer or member of police staff, then it will be dealt with in one of the following ways:
This process is fully supported by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and means that a local supervisor will be able to resolve your complaint directly with you and take any appropriate action to put things right. This should encompass your expectations and what proportionate action can or cannot be taken to resolve your complaint.
It will not result in formal proceedings being taken against a police officer or police staff member, but is designed to solve, explain and settle your complaint.
Where there is potential that your complaint will result in misconduct/criminal proceedings against the officers involved, an investigation will be carried out by the Professional Standards Department.
Right of Appeal
If you're unhappy with the way that we have dealt with your complaint then you will have a right of appeal as follows:
- Your complaint has not been recorded - this appeal will be to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
- You are unhappy with the outcomeof the local resolution - this appeal will be to the Professional Standards Department at Sussex Police.
- You are unhappy with the police formal investigation into your complaint - this appeal will be to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
- The Independent Police Complaints Commission has overall responsibility for the system for complaints against the police. For further information, visit the Commission's website