There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Complete this online complaint form
- Go into any police station
- Through our contact centres. Email 101 or telephone 101
- By letter to any police station or our Headquarters (PSD Department, Devon & Cornwall Police, Middlemoor, Exeter, EX2 7HQ)
- Contact a body to represent you e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau, Racial Equality & Human Rights Commission, Youth Offending Team, Probation Service or Neighbourhood Warden.
- Contact a Solicitor or your Member of Parliament
- Contact the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)
- Please note: If you submit a complaint through the IPCC it will be directed back to us (Devon and Cornwall Police) to investigate. The IPCC will only investigate if you are not satisfied with how your complaint has been dealt with or if you wish to appeal our decision.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- What sort of complaint can I make?
- Who can make a complaint?
- What will happen to my complaint?
- Where can I find more information on the complaints procedure?
- How long will the process take?
Complaints about staff : Such complaints are where the conduct or behaviour of a police officer or police staff member was inappropriate or fell below expectation. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the complaint should be made within 12 months of the alleged incident.
Direction and Control complaints : Such complaints are about overall force policies, commonly known as ‘organisational’ complaints. They may include operational policing policies, decisions about police resources, or general policing standards in your area.
- Someone who has been the victim of inappropriate behaviour or conduct
- Someone who witnesses such an incident
- Someone who has been adversely affected by the incident
- A person acting on behalf of one of the above with their written permission.
Your complaint will be considered and a decision made about whether to record it as a Complaint against Police or not (for example, you may not be someone eligible to make a complaint as outlined in who can make a complaint).
You will be notified of that decision within 10 working days. If the decision is made not to record your complaint you can appeal the decision to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) who are the final arbitrators.
Most cases will be suitable for resolving locally by a supervisory officer who will contact you to discuss your complaint; this will probably be a local sergeant or inspector. There may be occasions when a local investigation is required, but this will still be conducted by a local supervisory officer.
Whilst all complaints are taken seriously, the most serious complaints or incidents will be dealt with by Devon and Cornwall Police’s Professional Standards Department (PSD). In certain cases the PSD may refer the matter to the IPCC who will decide on the most appropriate mode of investigation.
More information on this and the complaints procedure can be found on the IPCC website.
Your complaint will be dealt with as speedily as possible and you will be informed of the progress of your complaint at least every 28 days.
You do not have to give us your details, but without them we will not be able to contact you and it may prevent us from being able to properly investigate your complaint.
"The IPCC oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales.
"All complaints against the police must be recorded by the relevant police force."
Source: IPCC website
Contact details of the IPCC
Their Customer Service Team is available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm to provide information about making a complaint against the police, the work of the IPCC and for general enquiries. Please call 0300 020 0096 (press 1 at prompt).
The IPCC does not operate a face-to-face service, if you visit their offices you should not expect to be seen by a member of staff.
0300 020 0096 (press 2 at prompt)
Lines are open 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. (calls may be recorded.)
020 7404 0430
Visit the IPCC website for the more information.
If you submit a complaint via their online form it will be directed back to us (Devon & Cornwall Police) to investigate. The IPCC will only investigate if you are not satisfied with how the complaint has been dealt with or you wish to appeal our decision.
Deaf or hard of hearing customers can contact the IPCC via Text Relay using the following number: 18001 0207 166 3000
To post a completed complaint/appeal form to us, please use the following address:
Independent Police Complaints Commission
PO Box 473
Please note that all correspondence and supporting documentation received by the IPCC's Casework and Customer Services Directorate will be copied electronically. The paperwork will then be securely destroyed after 14 days unless the sender requests that the originals be retained, in which case they will be returned by standard delivery post.
The above information was taken from the IPCC's website on the 07/06/2015, for the latest contact information always refer to the IPCC contact page on their website.