Make a complaint or give feedback
You can complain if:
- You are not satisfied with the service you have received from us; or the way you have been treated
- You think a police officer or member of police staff has not met our standard
We expect our police officers and police staff to:
- Act with honesty and integrity, fairness and impartiality
- Treat members of the public and 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
- You disagree with an aspect of how Surrey Police is run. This is a “direction and control issue” and might cover an operational management decision, general policing standards, or a specific policing policy
Our complaints procedure is overseen by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (details below).
How to make a complaint
You can complain directly to us:
- Email: email@example.com
- Write: Professional Standards Department, Surrey Police, PO Box 101, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 9PE
- Telephone: Contact Surrey Police via 101
- In Person: Visit a front counter at your local police station or council offices.
You can complain directly to the IOPC:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write: Independent Office for Police Conduct, PO Box 473, Sale, M33 0BW
- Telephone: 0300 020 0096 (press 2 at prompt - 9am to 5pm)
- Website: www.policeconduct.gov.uk
The IOPC must, by law, forward the complaint back to the force involved for consideration. This can be a lengthy process due to the high number of complaints made directly to the IOPC.
You can ask someone else to make a complaint for you, but they must have your written agreement. This could be your MP, a solicitor, another person; or an organisation such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Probation Service or Racial Equality Commission.
Your complaint should include:
- Your name, date of birth, address and contact details
- What happened
- When it happened
- Where it happened
- Who was involved
- What was said or done
- Whether there were any witnesses other than yourself and the person serving with the Police
- Where the witnesses can be contacted, if known
- Details of any damage or injury that are related to the complaint.
What happens when you have made a complaint?
Your complaint will be assessed in line with the IOPC statutory guidance to decide the most appropriate way to record and resolve your concerns.
If we decide not to record your complaint you will be told why, and you can appeal this decision to the IOPC.
If your complaint is about the Chief Constable, it will be passed to the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Otherwise your complaint will be recorded by the Professional Standards Department (PSD) and will be subject to either a local resolution OR a PSD investigation. PSD keep a central register of all complaints regardless of who resolves them.
In most cases a local resolution is appropriate. You will be contacted by a local supervisor to discuss your complaint. The resolution could include an explanation of police action, and words of advice or feedback being given to the officers or staff involved. We may also take other actions depending on the circumstances.
Your complaint will be investigated by PSD if it is more serious, if your complaint could lead to further proceedings (either criminal or disciplinary) against the person being complained about OR if there could be a breach of articles 2 or 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Professional Standards Department is independent from local management within Surrey Police. PSD will make proportionate enquiries to allow the investigating officer to give an opinion, on the balance of probabilities, whether the complaint is upheld.. We will write to you to inform you of our decision.
Your right to appeal
When we write to you with the outcome of your complaint, we will explain if you have a right to appeal, and who the relevant appeal body is. This could be the Chief Constable, Police and Crime Commissioner, or the IOPC.
The appeal body may consider appeals about:
- A failure of a police force to record a complaint (or to record as direction and control)
- The outcome of local resolution of a complaint
- The outcome of a local or supervised investigation
- A decision to disapply the legislation and therefore not to investigate your complaint
- The outcome of a complaint after disapplication
- A decision to discontinue an investigation.
You can ask the appeal body to consider your appeal and, if appropriate, they will direct the appropriate authority (the Chief Constable of Surrey Police or the Police and Crime Commissioner) to change its decision or take relevant action to deal with your complaint appropriately. If the original decision is judged to have been appropriate, then no further action is taken and there is be no further right of appeal.
You cannot appeal if the investigation into your complaint has been managed or carried out independently by the IOPC.
Complaints about chief police officers (usually chief constables) will be handled by the relevant Police and Crime Commissioner. Any subsequent appeals made will be handled by the IOPC.
If you wish to know more about the appeal rights available to you please visit the IOPC website.
The role of the the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)
The IOPC are the independent public body which oversee complaints about the police and related investigations. You can complain directly to the IOPC and it must, by law, forward the complaint back to the force involved for consideration. This can be a lengthy process due to the high number of complaints made directly to the IOPC.
We must also refer certain serious complaints or incidents (for example deaths in, or following, police contact) to the IOPC for them to decide how best to deal with the matter. The IOPC may conduct an independent investigation using their own investigators; or they may manage or supervise a police investigation into the matter.