Once our experienced officers have investigated your complaint, they’ll work with you to resolve it. But what if you can’t agree on an outcome?

Find out below what to expect at the end of the complaints process and how to appeal the outcome if you need to.

What outcome can I expect from my complaint?

In the case of local resolution, an officer or staff member will provide you with an explanation, may offer an apology and identify learning to prevent the same thing happening in the future.

For any outcome, we’ll provide a summary of what we did, what we found and how we reached our conclusions. We’ll also include:

  • whether your complaint was upheld

  • whether we found any of our officers or staff to be unprofessional

  • any learning opportunities resulting from your complaint

  • any action taken against our officers and staff


Finally, we’ll let you know any follow-on actions, such as:

  • improvement or changes to our procedures

  • giving formal advice to improve individuals’ performance

  • a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service for criminal charges

  • formal misconduct proceedings, which could lead to dismissal

  • agreement that something went wrong, and deciding that no other action is appropriate or necessary

What is an appeal?

An appeal is a review of how the investigation into your complaint was completed. Where an appeal is made we don’t reinvestigate the complaint itself. Following a review, we’ll always let you know if the appeal has been upheld or not.

How do I appeal the outcome of a complaint?

If you’re unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, you might be able to appeal. At the end of our investigation, we’ll let you know how to submit an appeal and when you need to do it by.

Usually we must receive your appeal within 28 days of the date on the letter we send you.

If you need more advice

If you're still not sure what to do next or you need more information, contact the Independent Office for Police Conduct or an organisation such as your local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can also talk to a legal adviser.