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Challenging the Police

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 4 Feb 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Police Public Complaint Rights Legal

Challenging the police if you feel they have not properly carried out their duties is a legal right for people living in Britain.

There are a number of different ways that complaints can be made if you feel the police have been acting irresponsibly within their duties.

Police Misconduct

There are a number of reasons why the public may want to make a complaint regarding police behaviour.

Reasons can include:

  • Abuse of rights
  • Harassment and use of excessive force
  • A member of the public has been arrested unlawfully
  • A member of the public has been a witness to police misconduct
  • The police are treating certain groups in the community unfairly
  • Allegations of corruption, hate crimes, assault and injury
  • Death or serious injury while in custody

Where to Make a Complaint

Complaints can be submitted verbally or in writing at any local police station. If you are making a complaint in writing always make sure you obtain a copy of the complaint for yourself. You can also make a complaint about the police to an independent agency such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). Information that is given must be accurate and honest and contain as many details as possible. Remember, the police can take legal action against anyone who makes a false complaint against the police force.

The IPCC

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is an organisation designed specifically to deal with complaints made against the police. If a complaint is made directly to the IPCC they will then forward it to the appropriate police force. The IPCC is a regulatory body that sets the standard regarding how police complaints procedures are handled. This organisation will handle complaints dealing with the behaviour of police officers and police staff. You can also use the IPCC’s online complaint form to send your complaint directly to the IPCC.

Police Complaints Procedure

Complaints about inappropriate behaviour of police officers and staff must be reported within 12 months of the incident taking place. Details should be as accurate as possible and include the time and date of the incident, the people involved and the police identity numbers if possible. Also try to include the names of any witnesses to the incident and anything that may support your claim such as CCTV cameras in the area. Witness statements will also be helpful but should be set out only by the witnesses.

Investigating the Complaint

The complaint will be investigated by a complaints and discipline department within the police force. Most complaints will be dealt with through the local police force but there are exceptions. Very serious complaints such as assault, corruption and discriminatory behaviour may be passed on to the IPCC. The IPCC may then conduct a supervised investigation. The IPCC can conduct supervised, managed and independent investigations depending on the seriousness of the allegation.

Why You Should Complain?

Many people who feel they do have a justifiable complaint against the police will simply forget the matter due to fear of consequences. However, the police do take complaints against police officers very seriously and allegations should always be thoroughly investigated. By making a complaint you are taking a stand that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated within your own community. Complaints should also always be made if you are a witness to any type of police misconduct.

The Complaint Outcome

There are a number of different scenarios that may be the result of an allegation made against the police. As a result of a complaint the police may have to improve or change their procedures. If the complaint is of a particularly serious nature it may end up being taken to the criminal courts. The police may also end up taking misformal conduct action against the individual officer or officers that the complaint was made against.

Making an Appeal

If you feel that the complaint was not appropriately handled or you are unhappy about the outcome then you may be able to complain to the IPCC. The IPCC will look at the appeal and make a decision as to whether or not to investigate the matter further. The IPCC can also make the police change their decision or investigate the allegation further.

Members of the public should never be afraid of making a complaint against the police. Making a complaint is the only way to ensure that police misconduct is not tolerated within the community.

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My son has been assused of DV.I have evidence of a witness who was present at the time of the incident. I have told the police this in my statement as i too was in the house at the time of the incident.Photos were shown to police proving the fact.They have not sort a statement from the witness and are taking tbe case to the cps.. What can we do?
JusticeWanted - 4-Feb-18 @ 9:36 AM
How can the police not investigate evidence told and showed to them in defence of allegations made against some one .My sons bail has been extended as CPS have not made a decision but they have not looked into the evidence that infact his ex partner has set him up we have the evidence.Three separate occasions we have tried no one will listen he has disabilities and still no one has looked into it where is the safe guarding !!!
nikki - 17-Jan-18 @ 11:02 AM
My wife had an affair with a police officer, I confronted the policeman but only on the phone as I did not know who he was, I found his number in my wifes purse, he cautioned me over the phone, I could not believe he was hiding behind his job and abusingthe power he has. To cut a long story short, he got away with it, his commanding officer more or less swept it under the carpet, the IPCC were not interested. This was 17 years ago. I have suffered with all sorts of mental conditions since this. The police look after there own.
Boot - 16-Jan-18 @ 12:34 AM
Police push me and want to arrest me for nothing. I call police report someone stole my friend passport. When we came to the house got thief. We said to them we call police if they don't return passport. They scared and throw my friend passport outside the house on the street. And they want to fight with us, we press call police, they saw we call police. Two guys go inside and lock the house. They don't let my friend come inside, he rent a room there and still valid. When police come, we try to ask them help my friend can get inside stay there. But they refuse to help. Police didn't knock the house and ask what happen. Police even shout at us, they don't let us explain. And one police lady push me ask me leave this place. I said no. I just stand outside on the street. I do nothing wrong. Why she push me and ask me leave? I said no, she said she will arrest me if I don't leave. My husband was very angry. He come hug me and protect me, he said to her"my wife got pregnant why you push her" she got no right to treated us this way. Where can I complaint? Unfair for me, for my friend. People stole his passport for a week. But police said as long as they return mean they are not thief. How those thief can respect the law if police just don't care?
Anna - 3-Jan-18 @ 12:24 AM
I have tried various ways of complaining and I can tell you first hand that the IPCC cover up for all of the actions of misconduct and corruption, I was a victim and nothing was done, the IPCC is a waste of tax payers money and a huge investigation needs to go into sorting this mess out, police misconduct, harassment and corruption is in all police stations and nothing ever gets done, colleagues don't whistleblow and look after there own, I'm disgusted with the police force and if I was to become an officer of the law, I would lead by example, but these days there is very little that can be done to protect your self from the bad cops, the good officers just leave and go to a different station whilst the culprits still continue there actions
Mark Durham - 26-Dec-17 @ 4:05 PM
I have reported criminals to the police who frauded sabotaged my company resulted in personal loss of£25 millions but the police sabotaged the ivestigation for no valid reason any offer to help recovering my losses
Sam - 26-Dec-17 @ 3:29 PM
I experienced abuse in a children's home. I was taken out of the home by the officer in charge to her private flat to abuse me. I complained at the time several years ago but noone listened. I went back to police and made video statement in 2010. My uncle who also abused me was jailed. However they took no action about the childrens home. When I complained they told me they weren't sure why they took no action but thought the officer in charge of he home was dead. They then said the officer in charge died in 2016 six years after I made my statement to them so was alive at the time. More recently I gave evidence to an independent enquiry for people abused in care etc and as part of their processes they contact police. Someone contacted me form the police. I told them what had happened but they just stopped responding to me. I complained through the IPCC and the professional standards of the police. I got no response after eight weeks so went back to IPCC. They said they had now got police to record my complaint. Another six weeks passed I went back to IPCC. They got police to send a letter saying they were were recording complaint. Still nothing. Finally I heard from someone else form the police who said the person who was dealing with my complaint had now left and that if I wanted to complain to the police about the missed opportunity I should contact the professional standards which I have already done and been ignored. I contacted IPCC again who tld me they only deal with 'serious' crimes such as death in custody and cannot force the police to act. I have been to countless solicitors who won't help due to time that has elapsed and the fact the police took no action. What happened to me in that home ruined my life and I complained at the time but noone wanted to know.
Mungo at the Crossro - 4-Dec-17 @ 6:04 AM
Failure by police to listen to me as I have a mental illness witch in no way was relevant to the crime I tried to report a incident where windows where put out doors where kicked my self and my partner an friends where being harassed and fretend with serious violence the police had to be rang 3 or 4 times b4 that came out giving the perportrator time to escape I was not the only one to try to complain I was being fretend daily that accused me of acting strange even tho I was shuck up she dismissed my claims and said I could not ring women in need for help this resulted in more asalts to my friend my self and partner which could have been avoided if police had listened there was abslutly no help and they said they would return and failed to after I contacted women in need 3 other people where injured that basically used a mental illness to bully and discriminate there main object was to protect the criminal there have been many more problems they have not took photos of injuries or collected vital evvidane witch that he was in posesion of a class a drug when they finally found him
Vick - 30-Nov-17 @ 10:22 PM
Lisa - Your Question:
I was accused of hitting a car in a car park with my car door, which I hadn't done. The man accusing me started to take pictures of my registration and told me he would deal with my insurance, so I started to take pictures of his vehicle to show there was no damage he didnt like this so grabbed me by both arms and threw me across the car park. I immediately phoned the police and whilst on the phone with them (they didn't attend) this man was screaming in my face and pushed me over twice more. There is cctv to back all of this up. I got a phone call from the police later that evening to say after listening to the call and my statement the man, when found, would be arrested for a section 39 assault. However the following morning I received another call from a different police officer to inform me that as it was unlikely I would bump into this man again there was no immediate threat to myself, and I wasn't injured, just red marks on my arms where he had grabbed me, it wasn't a priority case and would be looked into when they had an officer free. I have received a text message this morning (7days after the assault took place) to inform me after an initial investigation no further action will take place. Not even the courtesy of a phone call this time. How is it right that a man gets away with assaulting a woman in the middle of the afternoon under a cctv camera and isn't even arrested? Is there anything more I can do?

Our Response:
If the police can't trace the man or don't feel they can prosecute for some reason, your other option is a private action via the courts. If you don't know who the man is or his address that might be difficult though. A solicitor should be able to give you details of your options.
CivilRightsMovement - 28-Nov-17 @ 2:09 PM
I was accused of hitting a car in a car park with my car door, which I hadn't done. The man accusing me started to take pictures of my registration and told me he would deal with my insurance, so I started to take pictures of his vehicle to show there was no damage he didnt like this so grabbed me by both arms and threw me across the car park. I immediately phoned the police and whilst on the phone with them (they didn't attend) this man was screaming in my face and pushed me over twice more. There is cctv to back all of this up. I got a phone call from the police later that evening to say after listening to the call and my statement the man, when found, would be arrested for a section 39 assault. However the following morning I received another call from a different police officer to inform me that as it was unlikely I would bump into this man again there was no immediate threat to myself, and I wasn't injured, just red marks on my arms where he had grabbed me, it wasn't a priority case and would be looked into when they had an officer free. I have received a text message this morning (7days after the assault took place) to inform me after an initial investigation no further action will take place. Not even the courtesy of a phone call this time. How is it right that a man gets away with assaulting a woman in the middle of the afternoon under a cctv camera and isn't even arrested? Is there anything more I can do?
Lisa - 27-Nov-17 @ 11:35 AM
NAC17 - Your Question:
My 15 year old is diagnosed with ADHD and was found setting a fire in the neighbourhood yesterday. A community officer came to my home and suggested my son could take part in a FireBrigade Course. This was of interest so the community officer said she would return with forms for me to sign.The community Officer returned with two police officers and I let them into my home not thinking anything of it. The two officers looked into my fridge and decided to look up stairs. They lifted up my children's bed sheets to look at their mattresses. They told me 'You have too many kids.' I was in complete shock. I asked what the nature of their invasion was and their response was defensive, rude and un answered. Is there anything I can do to complain about this and if so whom do I address?

Our Response:
Ask the police why they were visiting? They should have told you at the time really.
CivilRightsMovement - 8-Nov-17 @ 10:43 AM
My 15 year old is diagnosed with ADHD and was found setting a fire in the neighbourhood yesterday. A community officer came to my home and suggested my son could take part in a FireBrigade Course. This was of interest so the community officer said she would return with forms for me to sign. The community Officer returned with two police officers and I let them into my home not thinking anything of it. The two officers looked into my fridge and decided to look up stairs. They lifted up my children's bed sheets to look at their mattresses. They told me 'You have too many kids.' I was in complete shock. I asked what the nature of their invasion was and their response was defensive, rude and un answered. Is there anything I can do to complain about this and if so whom do I address?
NAC17 - 1-Nov-17 @ 6:51 PM
Rower750 - Your Question:
Hello,My husband was involved in a minor rtc, his car was parked legally in a car park and it was rear ended by a woman who claimed she never saw his car there, fair enough she admitted fault, my husband was in the parked car at the time and was thrown forward, only minor injuries, the other driver reluctantly gave her surname and a phone number only, she never answered her phone. She refused her insurance.My husband traced her and had put a note on her driveway gate politely asking to get in touch to sort this out and asked her again for her insurance details, she refused these, she for some reason took offence at something like this letter being hung on her gate, no damage was done.Then out of the blue two police officers turned up at our door, saying they were there to investigate a complaint made over the communication the other driver had received - we were like? Huh a polite not asking her to get in touch over the accident she caused and her insurance details.Police were aggressive and said my husband had no right to ask for her insurance details, any injuries he had weren't real if he didn't go to a GP, any legal advice he had was all wrong in their view, and the other driver had clearly just made a mistake, asked if he ever made a mistake, said she clearly didn't know her insurance and shouldn't be harassed for it! One officer said he didn't know his insurance company off hand either, all odd and personal comments to be making we thought.Put a complaint into the local station and was told that there was no such complaint ever been made against my husband. So the police have lied, made up an allegation which was false to gain entry to our house and harass us. When the officers were questioned they lied to their Sgt stating they never said they were investigating a complaint against my husband. So no reason for them ever have called around, no criminal matter to be looked into at all here, the officers have called around to harass us, i've since learned that the lie of the complaint they made up to gain entry to our house and stated this was the reason of their visit, was caught on the home cctv audio. What's my next step?

Our Response:
Have you considered making a complaint to the IPCC about this?
CivilRightsMovement - 1-Nov-17 @ 12:55 PM
Danielle- Your Question:
My partner was involved in a car accident.He had finished work at 8:35pm, got in his car & was making his way home, he drove down a dark country lane, he said he saw two ref lights up ahead (another car), being dark he thought the car was moving, all of a sudden he said he came too close to this car, slammed his breaks & crashed I to the car up ahead, the car was stationary on the road with no hazards on, talking to a cyclist. Ambulance, fire & police came, thankfully no one was hurt. After my partner spoke to police they decided to blame him with dangerous driving despite him doing the legal limit & the car in front having no lights on. To me this doesn't seem just, he wasnt drinking, speeding or doing anything wrong but he has been given the blame. Can we appeal this? Does this seem fair?

Our Response:
We can't comment on individual liability unfortunately. If he wants to dispute the charge he will need to be willing to attend court and it might be worth seeking professional legal help.
CivilRightsMovement - 1-Nov-17 @ 11:05 AM
Hello, My husband was involved in a minor rtc, his car was parked legally in a car park and it was rear ended by a woman who claimed she never saw his car there, fair enough she admitted fault, my husband was in the parked car at the time and was thrown forward, only minor injuries, the other driver reluctantly gave her surname and a phone number only, she never answered her phone. She refused her insurance. My husband traced her and had put a note on her driveway gate politely asking to get in touch to sort this out and asked her again for her insurance details, she refused these, she for some reason took offence at something like this letter being hung on her gate, no damage was done. Then out of the blue two police officers turned up at our door, saying they were there to investigate a complaint made over the communication the other driver had received- we were like? Huh a polite not asking her to get in touch over the accident she caused and her insurance details. Police were aggressive and said my husband had no right to ask for her insurance details, any injuries he had weren't real if he didn't go to a GP, any legal advice he had was all wrong in their view, and the other driver had clearly just made a mistake, asked if he ever made a mistake, said she clearly didn't know her insurance and shouldn't be harassed for it! One officer said he didn't know his insurance company off hand either, all odd and personal comments to be making we thought. Put a complaint into the local station and was told that there was no such complaint ever been made against my husband. So the police have lied, made up an allegation which was false to gain entry to our house and harass us. When the officers were questioned they lied to their Sgt stating they never said they were investigating a complaint against my husband. So no reason for them ever have called around, no criminal matter to be looked into at all here, the officers have called around to harass us, i've since learned that the lie of the complaint they made up to gain entry to our house and stated this was the reason of their visit, was caught on the home cctv audio. What's my next step?
Rower750 - 30-Oct-17 @ 1:10 PM
My partner was involved in a car accident. He had finished work at 8:35pm, got in his car & was making his way home, he drove down a dark country lane, he said he saw two ref lights up ahead(another car), being dark he thought the car was moving, all of a sudden he said he came too close to this car, slammed his breaks & crashed I to the car up ahead, the car was stationary on the road with no hazards on, talking to a cyclist. Ambulance, fire & police came, thankfully no one was hurt. After my partner spoke to police they decided to blame him with dangerous driving despite him doing the legal limit & the car in front having no lights on. To me this doesn't seem just, he wasnt drinking, speeding or doing anything wrong but he has been given the blame. Can we appeal this? Does this seem fair?
Danielle - 29-Oct-17 @ 11:56 PM
Have had police refusing to respond to crime, stating it is a civil matter, they ignore crimes which are defined as such by the Home Office, but simply refuse to respond. Is there any way to have them do their duty.
PJ - 12-Oct-17 @ 5:15 PM
Dabby - Your Question:
Arrested then no further action taken, had to inform my employer and I willingly signed for them to access my police records. Subsequently now face dismissal as there was another allegation of harassment, damage to property and theft which I was unaware of and never charged for, but which my employer state I never made them aware of. I have since been in touch with my solicitor who advised to go down the police complaints route and take it from there. Is this necessary?

Our Response:
If that's what your solicitor advises (and he/she will have more background information than we do) then we would go along with that.
CivilRightsMovement - 10-Oct-17 @ 2:26 PM
Arrested then no further action taken, had to inform my employer and I willingly signed for them to access my police records.Subsequently now face dismissal as there was another allegation of harassment, damage to property and theft which I was unaware of and never charged for, but which my employer state I never made them aware of.I have since been in touch with my solicitor who advised to go down the police complaints route and take it from there.Is this necessary?
Dabby - 9-Oct-17 @ 12:26 PM
Marimena - Your Question:
I was involved in an accident Christmas of 2015. I was driven into by a private police car when it tried to overtake as I was turning at a junction. The inspector that reviewed the dash can footage came to our home and apologised and said that it was the mistake of the police officer. I was not concerned about taking legal action against the police but 2 years on I am still suffering from whiplash and most annoyingly although police had said it was not my fault the insurance found me responsible. Is there any type of compensation I can get to try and seek private medical treatment? Many thanks

Our Response:
You should seek professional legal advice about this, it's not something we can advise on.
CivilRightsMovement - 29-Sep-17 @ 3:31 PM
I was involved in an accident Christmas of 2015. I was driven into by a private police car when it tried to overtake as I was turning at a junction. The inspector that reviewed the dash can footage came to our home and apologised and said that it was the mistake of the police officer. I was not concerned about taking legal action against the police but 2 years on I am still suffering from whiplash and most annoyingly although police had said it was not my fault the insurance found me responsible. Is there any type of compensation I can get to try and seek private medical treatment? Many thanks
Marimena - 28-Sep-17 @ 6:04 PM
My son died after contact with south Yorkshire police The IPCC did everything they could to prevent the course of justice which includes withholding witness statements from us he family altering witness statements (my statement was altered) The police officer who attacked my son lied at the The expolice officer was the family liasion. officer and IPCC his questioning of us he family got so bad I had to ask him to leave my house He never told us we could have an independent autopsy we didn't stand a chance The police said my son drown LIE my son didn't How do I get justice for my son
mum123 - 25-Sep-17 @ 11:37 PM
My wife gave a statement to police and signed it.elating to a rape ordeal she went through.the detective has not questioned the named person.but still wants my wife to make a video.she feels her ordeal is coming second.no support has been offered nor has she been given any information on how this investigation is going to be treated.
Bryzee - 21-Sep-17 @ 8:11 AM
Nicky - Your Question:
My bf has had a conviction for assault, he's served his time and is now trying to get on with his life.However he is getting harrassed and having people inciting violence towards him, even taking pictures of him while he does his shopping! He has gone too the police where he lives and they have said they won't do anything as they want to keep the public happy. He's been to see them again and said they still won't do anything. I don't understand how he's getting harrassed and the police will not do anything about it. He pays his taxes, he works so hard. But he is now struggling. Are we able to make a complaint?? Thank you

Our Response:
We don't know enough about the circumstances to be able to tell you whether this is worth of a complaint against the police, sorry.
CivilRightsMovement - 20-Sep-17 @ 12:02 PM
My bf has had a conviction for assault, he's served his time and is now trying to get on with his life. However he is getting harrassed and having people inciting violence towards him, even taking pictures of him while he does his shopping! He has gone too the police where he lives and they have said they won't do anything as they want to keep the public happy. He's been to see them again and said they still won't do anything. I don't understand how he's getting harrassed and the police will not do anything about it. He pays his taxes, he works so hard. But he is now struggling. Are we able to make a complaint?? Thank you
Nicky - 19-Sep-17 @ 3:47 PM
Cubanturkey - Your Question:
After getting separated from my ex partner I have been the victim of serious harassment from her and her partner. She lives in a small village where most of the police are local and are friends of hers. I'm continually being pulled into the police station in my own area over these false allegations. Almost 2 years ago a police officers wife entered my taxi and threatened me by telling me that if any charges were pressed against my ex they would be lost and not followed up but their local police force were looking to help her out by charging me for stupid things. I've complained to police Scotland only to be ignored. I've been released every time without charge after 22 times in police station it's driving me nuts

Our Response:
You need to make a complaint to the IPCC about this. It might be worth seeking professional legal advice - 22 times seems particurly excessive, especially if no charges have ever been made.
CivilRightsMovement - 19-Sep-17 @ 1:45 PM
After getting separated from my ex partner I have been the victim of serious harassment from her and her partner. She lives in a small village where most of the police are local and are friends of hers. I'm continually being pulled into the police station in my own area over these false allegations. Almost 2 years ago a police officers wife entered my taxi and threatened me by telling me that if any charges were pressed against my ex they would be lost and not followed up but their local police force were looking to help her out by charging me for stupid things. I've complained to police Scotland only to be ignored. I've been released every time without charge after 22 times in police station it's driving me nuts
Cubanturkey - 18-Sep-17 @ 3:58 AM
I gave a witness statement to the police which was true to the best of my knowledge, I then tried to give photographic evidence to the officer, who refused to take it from me, this may or may not of had an impact on the guilty verdict of the case. I filed a complaint and had proof of this in my phone. He then arrested me (seizing my phone) for making a false statement and due to this I was told my complaint could not get dealt with until my arrest/case was over.I got a letter telling me no further action was being taken against me, but when I tried to get my phone back I was told I couldn't have it as the same officer was challenging the decision of the cps It Has since become apparent that part of my statement was not accurate, but was still to the best of my knowledge at the time given. I have been found guilty of perverting the course of justice, and have been told I will get a custodial sentence. Mystatement was changed and original went 'missing'.
Alice - 6-Sep-17 @ 8:11 PM
Ella - Your Question:
I was encouraged to complain about the police by Victim Support and I received a visit by two officers after dark saying that Victim Support had sent them to see if I was alright.Another member of my family was present. The officers then went on to say that they didn't Ike people complaining about colleagues. I don't feel I can report anything to the police anymore. I have health difficulties which makes everything harder.

Our Response:
This is a completely inappropriate thing for a police officer to say. The IPCC may be willing to address this
CivilRightsMovement - 23-Aug-17 @ 9:56 AM
I was encouraged to complain about the police by Victim Support and I received a visit by two officers after dark saying that Victim Support had sent them to see if i was alright.Another member of my family was present. The officers then went on to say that they didn't Ike people complaining about colleagues. I don't feel I can report anything to the police anymore. I have health difficulties which makes everything harder.
Ella - 21-Aug-17 @ 5:30 AM
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