Complaints against members of the police service

If you wish to make a complaint against a member of a Police Force or against the organisation itself you can do so by either contacting the Force directly or make your complaint via the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales. They investigate the most serious matters, including deaths following police contact, and set the standards by which the police should handle complaints. They use learning from their work to influence changes in policing. The IOPC are independent, and make decisions entirely independently of the police and government.

The IOPC was formed in January 2018. Before this, they were the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Since 2013, the IPCC doubled in size and now take on six times as many investigations. This led to the IPCC asking the Home Office for structural changes to better suit the much-expanded organisation. These changes were agreed through the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

There is no time limit for making a complaint, although you should try to do it as quickly as possible. The police force or relevant organisation can decide not to deal with a complaint if it is received more than 12 months after the incident. If you are complaining more than 12 months after an incident you should explain why your complaint has been delayed. The police force will need to consider your explanation when they decide whether to deal with the complaint.

Further details of the complaints system can be found by referring to the statutory guidance.

The IOPC produce a range of statistical information about the police complaints system and levels of public confidence in it. They also publish an annual report on deaths during or following police contact. Collecting this data allows the IOPC to spot trends and focus on areas where forces may need to make changes to improve the service they provide to their communities.

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