All About Complaints | Suffolk Constabulary

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All About Complaints

In February, 2020, Constabularies across the Country are changing how they deal with complaints and conduct matters as a result of new legislation.

It applies to officers, staff and designated policing volunteers in so far as they are persons serving with the police according to the provisions of the Police Reform Act 2002.

The aim is to create a receptive environment for learning from the complaints we receive. We want to encourage an attitude that welcomes complaints and see them as a means to improve the service we give to the public.


What is a complaint?

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction with a police force that is expressed by or on behalf of a member of the public. It must be made by a person who meets the definition of a complainant. There must also be some intention from the complainant to bring their dissatisfaction to the attention of the force or local policing body. A complaint does not have to be made in writing, nor must it explicitly state that it is a complaint for it to be considered as one.

Who can make a complaint?

Who is able to make a complaint is dependent on whether the complaint is about the conduct of a person serving with the police, or other matters.

If your complaint is about the conduct of individuals, you can make a complaint if you:

  • Claim to be the person in relation to whom the conduct took place,
  • Claim to have been adversely affected by the conduct,
  • Claim to have witnessed the conduct, or,
  • Are acting on behalf of someone who satisfies one of the above.

If your complaint is not about the conduct of individuals, but of others matters, you can complain if:

  • You were adversely affected by the matter complained about, or,
  • You are acting on behalf of someone who was adversely affected by the matter complained about.

How to make a complaint

Use our online form to make a complaint.


By calling 101

In writing by addressing your complaint to:

Joint Professional Standards Department
Norfolk Constabulary
Jubilee House
Falconers Chase
NR18 0WW

[email protected]

In the case of a complaint against the Suffolk Chief Constable write to:

The Office of  the Police and Crime Commissioner

Police Headquarters 

Portal Avenue 

Martlesham Heath 



In person
Visit any local police station 

Through other agencies and third parties:
Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC)
PO Box 473
M33 0BW
Phone: 0300 020 0096
Email: [email protected]

A third party can also make a complaint on your behalf, but you must provide written authority for them to do so. The third party can include anybody; a family member, friend, relative or a neighbour – this is not an exhaustive list. A third party can also include an independent organisation such as a solicitor, Law Centre, MP or Citizens advice Bureau.

Information to include in a complaint

Please include as much detail as possible in your complaint. It should include:

  • What happened,
  • When it happened,
  • Where it happened,
  • What was done or said,
  • Whether there were any witnesses and their contact details,
  • What proof exists of any damage or injuries. For example, were photographs taken or medical advice sought?
  • Your contact details
  • Any reference numbers you have
  • Your written authority, if somebody is acting on your behalf to make a complaint

What happens to your complaint?

Depending on the type of complaint you may be contacted by a Police Supervisor who will discuss your concerns and try to resolve them at the earliest opportunity.

If they are unable to resolve your complaint, or the complaint was referred directly to the Joint Professional Standards Department, Independent Office for Police Conduct or the Police and Crime Commissioner, then your complaint will be assessed by the Professional Standards Department to decide the most suitable method of dealing with it.

After your complaint is assessed, it will be allocated to a police supervisor, who will become your point of contact for your complaint. You will be contacted by them to confirm the different elements of your complaint. The police supervisor will conduct their enquiries, and you will be updated at least every 28 days. Once the enquiries have been completed the supervisor will record their findings, and you will be notified of the outcome – usually by email or by letter.

How we will keep you informed during the complaint process

The police supervisor who handles your complaint, will discuss your complaint with you, and:

  • Confirm and agree each of the allegations that you are marking,
  • Agree how often, and by what method you would like to be updated,
  • Provide relevant updates as per your agreement,
  • Explain what co-operation or further information they need from you,
  • Support you to try and resolve your dissatisfaction at the earliest opportunity, and where appropriate putting things right.
  • Make a decision about the level of service you have received for each of the allegations you make (for complaints which are recorded formally)

What happens at the end of the complaint process?

At the end of the complaint handling process, the police supervisor will inform you of the conclusions. Possible outcomes could include:

  • The matter was resolved
  • The matter was not able to be resolved
  • The service level was considered acceptable
  • The service level was considered not acceptable
  • No further action taken
  • The compliant is withdrawn
  • Organisational learning may be identified. We may decide to improve or amend our procedures in response to a complaint.
  • Individual learning identified
  • We may take formal disciplinary or management action against a member of staff.
  • We may refer your case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on criminal prosecution.

Right to review

If your complaint was formally recorded under schedule 3 Police Reform Act 2002 you have the right for the outcome of your complaint to be reviewed – if you are unsure whether your complaint is formally recorded or not, the police supervisor handling your complaint will be able to advise you. A review offers the opportunity for an independent body to consider whether the complaint outcome is reasonable and proportionate, and where appropriate, make recommendations to put things right. Depending on the circumstances of your complaint the review body will be either the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC.) Full details of who to make your review to will be provided to you in your complaint outcome letter.

Learning lessons

We hope you don’t ever have reason to complain about the Police but we understand that there will be times you feel let down or dissatisfied with the service you have received. We want to hear what went wrong so that we can put it right, to stop it happening again. We will look to identify any areas for improvement through the complaint handling process which help provide individual or organisational lessons that we can learn from. We will take appropriate steps to address the lesson to help influence improvements to service delivery.

Getting it right? Tell us about it!

We aim to provide a high standard of service in all that we do and we value any feedback from our communities.

We are particularly interested to hear about occasions where we have provided an excellent service.  This is so we can share with our staff and use as examples of good practice.

If you have been impressed with the service you have received from Norfolk or Suffolk Police please tell us about it.

Write to:

Joint Professional Standards Department
Norfolk Constabulary
Jubilee House
Falconers Chase
NR18 0WW

To email contact us at: [email protected] or you can complete our Say Thank You form.


“The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) are an independent body responsible for overseeing the police complaints system in England and Wales. Part of their role is to use the learning they identify from their work to influence changes in policing. One of the ways this is done is by making recommendations. Recommendations are made to the Constabulary under Paragraph 28A Schedule 3 Police Reform Act 2002. Our organisational responsibilities are set out in Paragraph 28B. Below you will find documents relating to recommendations made to the Constabulary and our response to each of them."