Once you’ve made a complaint there are several possible outcomes.
Sometimes a phone call from one of our experienced officers is all that’s needed to clear up a misunderstanding.
At other times, a complaint could lead to a change in the day-to-day working of the force. Every complaint is different, but we’ll follow the process below to try to find a solution you can be satisfied with.
What happens after I make a complaint?
When the reasons for your complaint are clear and no investigation is needed, we’ll try to get back to you quickly with information or an explanation.
If we need to look into your complaint in more detail, we’ll pass it to our Professional Standards Department (PSD). They'll record it and contact you directly to explain the next steps.
After recording your complaint, the Professional Standards Department will assess its nature and seriousness.
The Professional Standards Department will allocate a person who isn’t connected to your complaint to look into it. They’ll get in touch with you directly to clarify any missing details and answer any questions you may have. Based on your conversation, they’ll work with you to agree an action plan.
Some complaints we receive must be forwarded to the IOPC. Examples include action (or lack of action) that led to a person’s death or serious injury, serious assault, serious sexual offence, or serious corruption.
How will my complaint be resolved?
The person assigned to deal with your complaint should make contact with you to make sure they understand what your complaint is about.
Your complaint will be dealt with by one of three processes.
Local Resolution – we'll work with you to get to the bottom of what's happened and settle it with you.
Local Investigation – in these cases the person looking into the complaint will complete an Investigating Officers (IO) report including what investigation has been done, what findings have been reached and any recommendations.
PSD (Professional Standards Department) Investigation – for more serious complaints, where disciplinary action or even criminal proceedings could be involved, a PSD investigator will handle your complaint. They'll keep you informed as the investigation progresses, with an update at least every 28 days.
Why might my complaint not be investigated?
The most common reason for not looking into, or ‘progressing’, a complaint is if it relates to an incident from over 12 months ago, with no clear explanation for the delay.
Similarly, we wouldn’t start an investigation if we have already received, and looked into, a complaint about the same incident.