Complain about the Police

To make a complaint about North Yorkshire Police, a police officer or a member of staff, you can do this online at: Report it – North Yorkshire Police

  • Police and Crime Commissioners do not have a separate complaints system to that of local police forces. If you have a complaint about the police locally, this must be dealt with by North Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Department (PSD) or, in certain circumstances, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
  • We cannot act as an official advocate for individual complainants, as our duty is to the public as a whole.
  • We cannot appeal on your behalf against a decision you do not agree with or feel aggrieved by.

If you have lodged an official complaint with North Yorkshire Police via the Professional Standards Department, you can decide to appeal against the outcome of the investigation or local resolution.  You can also appeal about the decision not to record or to ‘disapply’ your complaint.  More information is provided below.

If you have a complaint outstanding with the IOPC, please contact us for advice as special circumstances apply.

How we can help, we can:

  • pass on your complaint to the Professional Standards Department and monitor how they respond on your behalf,
  • help guide you through the complex process and provide reassurance about how your complaint is being handled by North Yorkshire Police,
  • liaise with the Professional Standards Department and ask them for an update on cases or for more information.

What should I expect after making a complaint?

When you complain to the Professional Standards Department (PSD), this is what happens for:

Less serious complaints

If you feel your complaint is justified, but minor, you may be satisfied with an explanation or an apology.  Where this is appropriate, Professional Standards Department may be able to resolve your complaint in a less formal but nevertheless thorough way, by means of the Local Resolution process.  Local Resolutions can be fairly flexible, and are often the quickest and most effective way to resolve complaints. 

Serious complaints

If your complaint is more serious and a Local Resolution would not be suitable then it may be appropriate for an investigation to be conducted by an experienced Professional Standards Department investigator.

Local Resolution would not be suitable if the conduct complained of may, if proved, be likely to result in criminal or misconduct proceedings or if the complaint concerns matters which would impact on the right to life or the right not to be subjected to torture.

  • The ultimate decision in respect of whether a complaint is suitable for Local Resolution or investigation is made by the Professional Standards Department.
  • Depending upon the seriousness of the matters subject of complaint a decision is then made whether the complaint should be referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct or investigated internally.

Most cases do not fulfil the requirements to be referred to the IOPC. If, following referral of a case, the IOPC decide that it is not necessary for them to independently investigate, supervise or manage an investigation then the police force will appoint an experienced Professional Standards Department investigator to investigate the complaint.

When a complaint is passed to the IOPC, there are three ways it will be dealt with:

one – Supervised cases

  • Investigations are conducted  by Professional Standards Departments . The IOPC will however set the terms of reference and receive the investigation report when it is complete.
  • Complainants have the right of appeal to the IOPC following a supervised investigation.

two – Managed Investigations

  • Investigations are conducted  by Professional Standards Departments  under the direction and control of the IOPC who set the terms of reference for the investigation and who approve all major decisions during the course of the investigation
  • Complainants DO NOT have the right of appeal to the IOPC  following a managed investigation.

three – Independent Investigations

  • Carried out by IPOC investigators and overseen by an IPOC Commissioner. IPOC investigators have all the powers of the police.
  • Complainants DO NOT have the right of appeal to the IPOC following a supervised investigation.

What is a Professional Standards Department?

The Professional Standards Department are a dedicated team within North Yorkshire Police who investigate all public complaints about the police (apart from complaints about the Chief Constable) and internal misconduct matters.  Complaints will typically relate to:

  • Alleged Misconduct that is directed to you
  • If you feel you have been adversely affected by the alleged misconduct even if it was not directed at you, or
  • You have witnessed alleged misconduct

Misconduct can mean many things.  If you are unsure please write to the Professional Standards Department who will always look at complaints objectively, and will always investigate an issue which should be considered misconduct.

What is the Independent Office for Police Conduct?

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales.   It is independent, making its decisions entirely independently of the police, HM Government and complainants.

  •  The IPOC operates with guaranteed independence and it is able to conduct investigations with rigour and untainted objectivity.
  • However, the IPOC does not currently have sufficient resources to undertake the Independent Investigations that it is required to conduct. This means that it can take many months to complete an independent investigation. Many people rightly think this is worth waiting for.
  • Whether you decide to complain directly to the IPOC is completely up to you. However, if you do decide to submit your complaint direct to the IPOC, you should be aware that in the vast majority of cases the IPOC will refer  your complaint to the police force, in order that an assessment can be conducted regarding the suitability of your complaint for Local Resolution or investigation.
  • If you would like more information on the IPOC , or would like to make a complaint to them, please visit their website:
    www.policeconduct.gov.uk