Make a complaint
Devon & Cornwall police are committed to providing the highest possible level of service. However, there may be occasions when you feel dissatisfied with some aspect of the service received, or it may have fallen below the level you would expect, in which case you may wish to make a complaint.
Generally, there are two types of complaint:
- Complaints about staff
Complaints about staff are recorded under the provisions of the Police Reform Act 2002 where the conduct or behaviour of a police officer or police staff member was inappropriate or below expectation. Such complaints fall under the umbrella of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)
- ‘Direction & Control’ Complaints
Such complaints are about overall force policies commonly known as ‘organisational’ complaints. They may include operational policing policies, decisions about police resources, or general policing standards in your area. Whilst they will be recorded, these complaints fall outside the remit of the IPCC.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances, you should make a complaint within 12 months of the alleged incident.
Who can make a complaint?
A complaint may be made by –
- Someone who has been the victim of inappropriate behaviour or conduct
- Someone who witnesses such an incident
- Someone who has been adversely affected by the incident
- A person acting on behalf of one of the above with their written permission.
How to make a complaint
There are a number of ways you can make a complaint:
- Complete the on-line form (link to within the right-hand-column)
- Go into any police station
- By telephone: 101
- Contact any police station or our Headquarters by letter (PSD Department, Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, Middlemoor, Exeter, EX2 7HQ)
- Contact a body to represent you e.g. Citizens Advice Bureau; Racial Equality Council; Youth Offending Team; Probation Service; or Neighbourhood Warden, all of whom can provide information.
- Contact a Solicitor or your Member of Parliament
- Contact the IPCC at:
90 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BH
Telephone 0300 020 0096 (between 9.00am – 5.00pm)
For more information visit www.ipcc.gov.uk/complaints.
What will happen to your complaint?
Your complaint will be considered and a decision made about whether to record it or not (for example, you may not be someone eligible to make a complaint as outlined above), and the type of complaint it is, a ‘Complaint about staff’ or a ‘Direction & Control’ complaint.
You will be notified of that decision within 15 working days. If the decision is made not to record your complaint you can appeal the decision to the IPCC who are the final arbitrators.
Most cases will be suitable for resolving or investigation locally by a supervisory officer who will contact you to discuss your complaint. This will probably be a local Sergeant or Inspector.
The more serious complaints or incidents will be dealt with by the force’s Professional Standards Department. In certain cases the Professional Standards Department may refer the matter to the IPCC who will decide on the most appropriate mode of investigation.
More information on this and the complaints procedure can be found on the IPCC website: www.ipcc.gov.uk
You will be informed of the progress of your complaint at least every 28 days.
Please click on this complaint form link to open an on-line complaints form to the Devon & Cornwall police. Please do not use this form in an emergency, but dial 999
You do not have to give us your details, but without them we will not be able to contact you and it may prevent us from being able to properly investigate your complaint.