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?
Any expression of dissatisfaction with a police force which is expressed (whether in writing or otherwise) by or on behalf of a member of public.
Who can make a complaint?
The following people can make a complaint:
- Any member of the public who alleges that the police conduct was directed at them.
- Any member of the public who alleges that they have been adversely affected by the police conduct, even if it was not directed at them.
- Any member of the public who claims that they were witness to the conduct by the police. This would not include a person who sees an incident on the news.
- A person acting on behalf of someone who falls within any of the three categories above who has written permission by the complainant
How to make a complaint
Use our online form to make a complaint.
In the case of a complaint against the Suffolk Chief Constable write to:Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
In the case of a complaint about the service you have received from Suffolk Police write to:
Joint Professional Standards Department
Visit any local police station where a senior officer on duty will talk with you.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau, who can advise whether you have grounds for a complaint
You can also contact a solicitor or member of parliament or ask someone else to put forward your complaint. This might be a friend or neighbour, as long as they have a letter from you authorising them to do so.
Information to include in a complaint
Please include as much detail as possible in your complaint. It should include:
- What 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
What happens to your complaint?
We will acknowledge your complaint and will contact you to explain how we will handle it. We will discuss and agree with you what we will do and how long it might take.
Most complaints are resolved at a local level, but for some might be more appropriate for an investigation.
- In some cases, it may be appropriate to give an apology, or a full explanation on why certain actions were or were not taken. We will investigate all other complaints in the most appropriate manner. In serious cases, the IOPC may conduct an independent investigation.
How we will keep you informed during an investigation
Whoever investigates your complaint, the investigator will inform you:
- How we will investigate your complaint.
- What co-operation they need from you.
- How we will reach a decision.
- What action we will take at the conclusion of an investigation.
The investigator will also agree with you how often and by which method we will keep you informed.
What happens at the end of investigation?
At the end of the investigation, the Investigator 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
You may, in certain circumstances, have the right of review. This offers the opportunity for to consider whether the complaint outcome is reasonable and proportionate and, if not, put things right.
We will inform you of the right of review available and who you should direct this to depending on the substance of the complaint. The relevant review body with either be the IPOC or the Police and Crime Commissioner for the relevant force.
In all our interactions with the public we commit to providing the best service. We identify lessons complaints or dissatisfaction matters and feed them back into the organisation to influence future policies and service delivery. If you have any general comments to make about the service please tell us by contacting us on any of the above methods.
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.
Joint Professional Standards Department