Making a complaint about police behaviour
A member of the public who considers that a police officer or member of police staff has behaved incorrectly or unfairly has the right to make a complaint.
If you make a complaint, a decision as to whether to record it is ordinarily made, in accordance with the Police Reform Act 2002, within 10 working days. You should be kept informed and if a decision is made not to record your complaint you can appeal to the Independent Office of Police Complaints (IOPC)
All complaints are taken seriously and the police's aim is to deal with them to your satisfaction. Dependent upon your allegations, your complaint may be suitable to be dealt with using Local Resolution (LR). This process can be used for matters where often an explanation or some management involvement will provide you with a quick but satisfactory resolution to your complaint.
The Independent Office of Police Complaints (IOPC) believe LR is the simplest and most flexible way of you telling us what has happened, finding out why it happened, allowing someone to say sorry if appropriate and making sure action is taken to deal with the problem, and to stop the same thing happening in the future. Most complaints are resolved in this way. If your complaint is dealt with using the LR process you will have a say into how it is resolved and at the end of the process you will receive a letter outlining what actions were taken to resolve your complaint. Should you not be happy with the outcome of the LR then you can make an appeal about it.
Other cases may need to be investigated and it will be decided whether this should be carried out by someone from a local police station or by Merseyside Police's Professional Standards Department.
You should make a complaint within 12 months of the alleged incident unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Who can make a complaint?
- Any person directly affected by the incident, which is being complained about.
- Any person 'adversely affected'* by the incident, which is being complained about. This means that whether the behaviour was towards you or not, it had some sort of negative affect on you. You might have been distressed or inconvenienced by it, you might have suffered some sort of loss or damage because of it or you might have been put in danger.
- Any person who is witness to inappropriate or wrong behaviour, and wishes to complain about it. (This usually means you were an eyewitness, and not that you saw it on TV or read about it.)
- Any person making a complaint on behalf, and with the written permission of, someone else who falls into one of the above categories.
Find out more here
How to make a complaint
Online by completing a complaints form here.
Or writing to:
Professional Standards Department or Civil Litigation Department,
PO BOX 59,
Or by visiting your local police station.
Making a complaint about the CPS
If you have been directly involved with a case and are unhappy with any aspect of the service offered by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), you can make a complaint. If you are not directly involved in the matter about which you wish to complain you can provide the CPS with negative feedback.
If you want to complain, the first thing to do is to talk to your local CPS or the member of staff involved. They will try to resolve the problem immediately.
You can also make a complaint directly to the CPS.
The CPS also offers the Victims' Right to Review Scheme, which makes it easier for victims to seek a review of a decision not to bring charges against a suspect or to terminate proceedings. Find out more here.