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Who can make a complaint?

You can make a complaint if:

  • you experience inappropriate behaviour from an officer or member of staff, e.g, if you felt they were rude or aggressive towards you
  • you witness an incident where an officer or member of staff acted inappropriately
  • you have been adversely affected by the conduct of an officer or member of staff, such as suffering loss or damage, or being put in danger

If you want to make a complaint on behalf of someone affected by any of the issues listed above, you will need to have their written permission.

What can I complain about?

People who work in the police service should behave appropriately at all times.
Expectations about the behaviour of both police officers and members of police staff
are set out in their respective Standards of Professional Behaviour. These
expectations include requirements to:

  • act with honesty and integrity, fairness and impartiality
  • treat members of the public and their colleagues with respect
  • not abuse their powers and authority
  • act in a manner that does not discredit or undermine public confidence in the
    police service

If you feel that someone working for the police has not met these standards, you can
make a complaint.

You may also complain about overall policies and procedures of
a police force (often referred to as ‘direction and control’ issues) rather than the
behaviour or conduct of a police officer or member of police staff.

Ways to make a complaint to Gloucestershire Constabulary

To make a complaint, you can:

  • fill in this complaints form which will be emailed to the Professional Standards Department
  • go to a police station and ask to be seen by a supervisor who will, subject to operational commitments, be able to meet with you; alternatively, if no one is available, we will arrange for you to be called back
  • write a letter with a full account of the incident to The Professional Standards Department, Gloucestershire Constabulary, No.1 Waterwells, Waterwells Drive, Quedgeley, Gloucester, GL2 2AN
  • telephone the Constabulary on our non-emergency number, 101
  • visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau, Racial Equality Council, neighbourhood warden, Youth Offending Team or Probation Service, all of which can provide information
  • contact your solicitor or your MP and ask them to make a complaint for you or nominate a person to act on your behalf (they must have and provide your written consent)

You can find out more by viewing the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) guidelines on making complaints.  Or contact the IOPC via email or by phone on 0300 020 0096.


What details should I include?

When making a complaint, you should include details of:

  • what happened
  • when it happened
  • where it happened
  • who was involved
  • what was said or done
  • whether there were witnesses other than yourself
  • any damage or injury that took place
  • identity of the officer or member of staff (if known)
  • what you are complaining about
  • what outcome you are seeking
  • how you can be contacted including your address, telephone number(s) or email address if applicable
What’s the next step?

We will review your complaint and decide if it is one that should be recorded as a formal complaint under the terms of the Police Reform Act 2002. If we do not record it, you will be told how to appeal to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Local resolution

If your complaint is recorded, we may decide that it is suitable to be resolved by local resolution with an appropriate explanation or apology in timescales that we have agreed with you.

The IOPC believes local resolution can be a proportionate, timely and effective way of resolving complaints.

Local Investigation

If we decide your complaint is not suitable for local resolution, a local investigation will be carried out by a police investigator. You will be informed of how your complaint will be investigated, what cooperation is required from you, how a decision will be reached and what action will be taken at the end of the investigation. 

The type of investigation will depend on the nature and seriousness of your complaint and the likely outcome. An investigation might range from telephone enquiries conducted in a few hours to a more extensive process perhaps taking a number of months.

The Constabulary must notify the IOPC about the most serious complaints. In some cases, the IOPC will decide that the complaint investigation should under its supervision, using investigators from this or another constabulary, or it might independently investigate the matter itself.

How to make a complaint to the IOPC?

How to make a complaint to the IOPC?

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales and sets the standards by which the police should handle complaints.

The IOPC does not have the power to record a complaint, therefore your initial complaint should be made directly to us using the options outlined above.

If you raise a complaint to the IOPC, it must, by law, be forwarded back to the force involved for consideration.

The IOPC will only conduct independent investigations into incidents that cause the greatest level of public concern.

A copy of the complaints form in easy read, large print, foreign languages is available on the IOPC websiteYou can watch a video in British Sign Language about making a complaint by clicking here.

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Page last updated: 17 January 2018