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BSL - How to make a complaint


If you think you have been treated badly by the police, it’s easy to complain - this might be if someone was rude to you or hurt you.

What can you complain about?


  • Police officers of any rank or other members of police staff
  • If a friend or relative has been treated badly by the police, you can complain if you are upset as a result
  • If you saw someone else being treated badly by the police, then you can also complain


A friend or relative or member of a community group can make a complaint for you as long as you agree in writing that you are happy for them to complain for you. They can also write down your complaint for you and can sign to show that you have agreed.

You will also need to explain what happened; when it happened; who was involved; what was said or done and if someone else saw what happened. There might be some other questions as well.


How to complain and who do I complain to?

  • Go into the police station and try to explain the problem if you are able to (take someone with you, or write down what you need to say)
  • Contact any police force by phone, email, post or fax
  • You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau; Youth Offending Team; Racial Equality Council; Probation Service or your local Safer Neighbourhood Team.


Even if you give the police all the details you can, they may still need to ask you some more questions. They may also fill in a form and ask you to make a statement about your complaint.

Most complaints will be dealt with your local police, as long as you agree to this.

More serious complaints may involve further investigation by your local police or referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is responsible for the way complaints about police are handled.  It is not part of the police.  You have the right to be kept informed regarding the progress of your complaint and what action may be taken as a result and how the decision will be made. You will also be consulted how often and by which method you would like to be kept informed. When they have finished looking at you complaint, they will tell you what they have decided to do.