Here you can find information about how to make a complaint about the conduct of a police officer or member of police staff.
The Professional Standards department (PSD) is responsible for the management of all public complaints, whether they are made about police officers, police staff or special constables. PSD is completely separate from the officers or members of staff who are complained about. In addition they investigate the more serious allegations of misconduct involving police officers and special constables. PSD provide the link between Hampshire Constabulary and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and ensure that any serious matters are referred to the IPCC as soon as possible.
What can I complain about?
If you think that a police officer of member of police staff has behaved incorrectly or unfairly, you have a right to make a complaint.
People who work in the police service should behave appropriately at all times. Expectations about the behaviour of both police officers and staff are set out in their respective Standards of Professional Behaviour.
These expectations include requirements to:
- act with honesty and integrity, fairness and impartiality
- treat members of the public and colleagues with respect
- not abuse their powers and authority
- act in a manner that does not discredit or undermine public confidence in the police service.
If you feel that someone working for the police has not met these standards, you can make a complaint. These types of complaints are dealt with under the Police Reform Act 2002.
If you wish to comment on other aspects of policing or give us positive or negative feedback, you can do so by using the Your Voice Counts form on this website.
How to make a complaint
There are a number of ways you can make an official complaint:
- Visit the front counter at one of our police stations open to the public and advise them that you wish to make a complaint. A police officer or member of staff will speak to you about your complaint and take your details.
- You can write direct to: Professional Standards Department, Hampshire Constabulary, Tower Street, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8ZD
- Email Professional Standards Department directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact your solicitor or your MP.
- Contact the IPCC at: Independent Police Complaints Commission 90 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6BH
- Visit www.ipcc.gov.uk or call them on 0300 020 0096
- Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
What information to include in your complaint
When making your complaint you should include information such as:
- what happened
- when it happened
- who was involved
- what was said or done
- were there any witnesses
- was there any damage or injury caused
This will enable your complaint to be dealt with more efficiently. Please also include your full name, date of birth and full address.
How will the complaint be dealt with?
Once your complaint is accepted and recorded as being about the conduct of a police officer or member of police staff, then it will be dealt with in one of two ways:
Local resolution is an informal approach to resolving complaints. It allows forces to learn lessons and improve the way they do things. Many people prefer their complaint to be dealt with in this way. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) believes that when it is carried out effectively and used appropriately, local resolution of less serious matters has a key part to play in the complaints system and in ensuring public confidence.
A local manager will discuss your complaint with you and draw up an action plan covering the issues you have raised. Once the action plan has been completed you will be written to and a copy of the action plan sent to you.
If at the end of the local resolution process you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you have a right of appeal. In most cases your appeal will be dealt with by a senior police officer within the Professional Standards Department although in some cases the appeal will be dealt with by the IPCC. You will be advised in writing at the end of the local resolution process who will deal with any appeal you wish to make.
If your complaint is not suitable for local resolution, or you are unable to agree an action plan to resolve your complaint, a local investigation will be carried out by a police investigator. The investigator will usually be assigned from your local police Area, however more serious complaints will be dealt with by an investigator from the Professional Standards Department.
You will be informed how your complaint will be investigated, what co-operation is required from you, how a decision will be reached and what action will be taken at the end of the investigation. The type of investigation will depend on the nature and seriousness of your complaint and the likely outcome. An investigation might range from telephone enquiries conducted in a few hours to a more extensive process perhaps taking a number of months.
You can appeal if you are unhappy with the outcome of the police investigation in to your complaint. Most appeals will be dealt with again by a senior officer within the Professional Standards Department. However, appeals about more serious matters, and those dealt with by investigators from Professional Standards will be dealt with by the IPCC.
Appealing against the way the police have handled your complaint
If you have made a complaint against the police and you are not happy with the way it has been handled, you may be able to appeal. The appeal will be dealt with by either a senior officer within the Professional Standards Department or the IPCC. This is dependant on a number of factors. Generally, appeals in respect of the more serious allegations will continue to be dealt with by the IPCC. There are four types of appeal:
- appeals against a complaint not being recorded (these are always dealt with by the IPCC.)
- appeals against the local resolution outcome (these can be dealt with by the IPCC or Hampshire Constabulary. The correct route will have been explained to you in the letter we have sent you.)
- appeals against the police investigation into your complaint (these can be dealt with by the IPCC or Hampshire Constabulary. The correct route will have been explained to you in the letter we have sent you.)
- appeals against a decision to disapply or discontinue dealing with your complaint (contact Professional Standards Department: email@example.com.)
The role of the Independent Police Complaints Commission
Complaints about the conduct of people serving with the police can be sent to the IPCC, but the IPCC does not have the power to record complaints. If you complain to the IPCC it must, by law, forward the complaint back to the force involved for consideration. It can take a number of weeks before a complaint is forwarded to the relevant force. In order to have your complaint dealt with as quickly as possible, we advise you to complain to Hampshire Constabulary.
The IPCC also investigates the most serious complaints and allegations of misconduct against the police in England and Wales. These complaints are referred to the IPCC by police forces. The IPCC may decide to investigate an incident using its own investigators (an independent investigator). Alternatively, it can manage or supervise a police investigation into the matter. The IPCC will only conduct independent investigations into incidents that cause the greatest level of public concern - for example, deaths in, or following police custody.