3. Compliments and complaints
Complimenting Suffolk Police or making a complaint
Your views are important to us and we would like to hear your feedback. If you are happy with our services, or if you are unsatisfied with the service you have received from us, please contact us as soon as possible to let us know.
You can send us a compliment in writing to:
Professional Standards Department
You can also send us a compliment via email: [email protected]
The Professional Standards Department (PSD) deals with complaints and concerns raised about the level of service we provide. PSD are independent of the person being complained about, and complaints and concerns are either investigated within the department by The Serious Cases Unit or locally by supervising officers. On some occasions complaints are investigated by The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
A complaint will not always result in disciplinary proceedings against police officers, staff or contractors. However, we will always seek to learn from complaints and change our policies and practices when appropriate.
The sections below explain how you can make a complaint, and how you can appeal against the outcome of a complaint.
When a decision has been made about the handling of a complaint or its outcome, we will write to you outlining your right of appeal and to whom the appeal should be made. In some cases this will be the IOPC, in others it will be the chief officer as determined by the Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2012. If you have already been notified of a decision about a complaint and informed that any appeal should be made to the IOPC, further information about how to appeal to the IOPC is available on its website. All appeals about a decision not to record a complaint or to notify the correct authority must be forwarded to the IOPC. We will tell you if this applies to you. If you have been notified you have a right of appeal to the chief officer, fact sheets about each type of appeal can be accessed via the IOPC link. If you are unable to access the forms, please contact the Professional Standards Department as detailed above, who will forward you a copy by e-mail or post.
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)
Further information about the complaints system and the statutory guidance can be accessed via the IOPC: https://policeconduct.gov.uk/
However, complaints should normally be made direct to the constabulary (or via a third party). Any complaint made to the IOPC will be automatically returned to the constabulary unless there are exceptional circumstances that justify not passing it on.
What happens after a complaint has been made?
Your complaint will be assessed and recorded within 10 working days from when we receive it. We will then contact you to let you know what is happening with your complaint and who will be progressing your concerns.
If following our assessment of your complaint we decide not to record or investigate it, we will write to you and tell you why we have made this decision. We will also tell you how you can appeal against this if you do not agree with this decision.
Where serious allegations are made, Suffolk Police must refer the matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct who may decide to supervise or manage the investigation or to conduct an independent investigation.
Where there is an indication that an officer or member of staff may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify formal misconduct proceedings, then a complaint and a misconduct investigation will take place. This will normally be undertaken by an investigator from The Serious Cases Unit within PSD. If this is not the case, your concerns will still be investigated locally by supervising officers.
We will keep you informed of progress during the investigation and send you our findings and the outcome in writing.
We will identify where we can learn lessons from your complaint and review working practices accordingly. We will publish details of complaint trends publicly and report in detail to the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Details you should include in your complaint
- What was said or done.
- Whether there were witnesses.
- Details of any damage or injury that took place.
- The identity of the officer(s) or member(s) of staff (if known).
- Clarify exactly what your complaints are and how you would prefer to be contacted. If you contact us by email or provide an email address we will usually send communication to your email address provided unless you ask us not to.
Do you need help to make a complaint?
If you need help to make a complaint please let us know. We will try to help by:
- referring you to a suitable advocacy or support group
- access to interpreters so that you can communicate with us
- use of Language translation services so that we can send you communication in a language other than English if this would help you
- referring you to services who can support you if you have speech or hearing difficulties.
Making a formal complaint
You can make a complaint about the way you have been treated, the service you have received, about policies and procedures, or the general running of the force in the following circumstances:
- if the conduct took place in relation to you
- you witnessed the conduct
- you were adversely affected by the conduct.
You can make a complaint on behalf of someone else, provided you have that person’s written consent.
Any complaint about the Chief Constable should be made to the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner.
Complaints about anyone else working for the police should be made direct to Suffolk Constabulary in one of the following ways:
- in person, by going to a police station and asking to be seen by a supervisory officer - usually an inspector or sergeant
- by emailing [email protected]
- in writing, by sending a letter with a full account of the incident to: Professional Standards Department, Suffolk Police, Jubilee House, Falconers Chase, Wymondham, NR18 0WW
- via third parties - if you would prefer, complaints can also be made via your local Citizens Advice Bureau, Racial Equality Council, Youth Offending Team or the Probation Service. Other agencies that can assist you include Leeway Advocacy Service or through your solicitor
- by telephoning 101.
If you are unhappy about the way an incident has been handled, or feel that an officer has behaved corruptly, unethically or formed an inappropriate relationship during an investigation, but do not wish to complain formally, you can still raise your concerns with us. We will look into the level of service that you have received.
Your concerns will be reviewed by a manager and action will be taken to resolve the matter. This could include giving you an explanation as to why a certain course of action has been taken, an explanation from the officer/member of staff concerned, or an explanation of a policy.
The matter will be formally recorded as ‘service recovery’ by the Professional Standards Department and the outcome will be reported back to you.