If you have had a bad experience with the police, we would encourage you to make a formal complaint. It’s important you make yourself heard and kick up a fuss, too many police officers are able to get away with misconduct by acting intimidating or exploiting their position. You are within your rights to make a complaint and there are several options available.
As a member of the public you are entitled to complain about the misconduct of a police officer towards yourself if there is a good reason. You are also able to make a police complaint on someone else’s behalf if you have their authorisation.
You are able to make a police complaint for any of the following reasons:
- The police officer has behaved incorrectly or unfairly
- The Police officer has been rude towards you or someone you were with
- The police officer used excessive force
- The police officer abused your rights
- The police officer arrested you unlawfully
You are also entitled to make a police complaint as a member of the public if you have witnessed police officers behaving badly, even if your not the victim you are still encouraged to report the police officer to the authorities explaining what happened so they can be dealt with accordingly.
What you need to make a complaint:
If your complaining about something serious which could lead to criminal charges or the police officer getting a conviction you will need evidence, it’s vital you record the time and place where the incident occurred as accurately as possible.
You should also take note of the identity of the police officers involved and record a description as best you can. If they are wearing uniform then try and write down the identity numbers from any badges they might have displayed near their shoulders. If the police officers are in a car or can then you can record the number plate or the identity number located on the roof. Also if there are any witnesses you should approach them and record their names and contact details.
There are other things which can help you in the case of a serious police complaint, look out for things like CCTV cameras which may have caught the incident on film. This can be used as evidence to help support your allegation. If there were people near by filming or taking photographs they may also have vital evidence which you can use in your case.
If there is a group of you making a police complaint then you should compare notes and corroborate each others version of events. Write down as much as you can as quickly after the event has happened so you can remember it as accurately as possible. You should also get your witnesses to do the same on separate witness statements. You should present your witness statements separately as they will look less impressive if everything was prepared together.
If you were injured as a result of police misconduct, assaulted or the police officer used excessive force then get a doctor to look at you as quickly as possible. Show the doctor your injuries and then be sure to write down the doctors contact details and time you were seen. If you have visible injuries from the police officer then also make sure you take your own photographic evidence immediately before the marks fade away. You can ask the doctor to write a quick report on your injuries for you to use.
Important information to include in your complaint:
- what happened;
- when it happened;
- what was done;
- what was said;
- where the witnesses can be contacted; and
- what proof, if any, exists of any damage or injury
Police Complaints: Steps to take next:
- Submit your formal complaint to the police and IPCC
- Alternatives to a formal complaint
- Why you should complain
- How complaints are investigated