How to complain
It is recommended that you read the information on this page before making a complaint.
What can I complain about?
If you think that a police officer or member of police staff has behaved incorrectly or unfairly, you have the 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 members of police 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 their 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.
Other types of complaint
Complaints about the overall policies or procedures of a police force are often referred to as 'direction and control issues'. These can include complaints about the organisation of a police force or general policing standards in your local area. These complaints cannot be dealt with under the Police Reform Act 2002.
These complaints can be made by using our Dissatisfaction/Complaint form.
How can I make a complaint about the conduct of a person serving with the police?
There are several ways to make a complaint to Northamptonshire Police.
Online Click here to fill out our online form.
By email You can email us at PSDMain@northants.pnn.police.uk
In person You can complain in person at your local station or any other station within Northamptonshire Police. A police officer or a member of police staff will speak to you about your complaint and will explain your options.
By post Write to the following address:
Professional Standards Department
Making your complaint
Your complaint will be recorded by the Professional Standards Department (PSD) of Northamptonshire Police. PSDs have overall responsibility for recording and handling complaints about the conduct of individual officers or members of police staff. PSDs are completely separate from the officers or members of staff who are complained about.
How will my 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, 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 and to provide an explanation for actions and decision taken, in a timely manner. Many people prefer their complaint to be dealt with in this way.
A local manager will discuss your complaint with you and draw up an action plan covering the issues you have raised.
If at the end of the local resolution process you are dissatisfied with the process followed, you have a right of appeal to either the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) or PSD; you will advised who the correct appeal body is at the conclusion of the local resolution process. For more information, visit the IPCC website.
If your complaint is not suitable for Local Resolution, a local investigation will be carried out by a police investigator. The investigator will usually be assigned from the police PSD, but they could be from a local police division.
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 have a right of appeal at the conclusion of the complaint investigation if you are not happy with the outcome, either to the IPCC or PSD; you will advised who the correct appeal body is at the conclusion of the complaint investigation process. For more information, visit the IPCC website.
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 to the IPCC. The IPCC deals with three types of appeal:
- Appeals against a complaint not being recorded
- Appeals against the Local Resolution process
- Appeals against the police investigation into your complaint
For more information visit the IPCC website.
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. Due to the exceptionally high numbers of complaints made to the IPCC, it can take a number of weeks before a complaint is forwarded to the relevant police force . In order to have your complaint dealt with as quickly as possible, we advise you to complain to Northamptonshire Police using one of the methods set out above.
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 (referred to as an independent investigation). 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.
For more information about the IPCC complaints system, please read: A Guide to the Police Complaints System.