Police officers - Being the subject of a complaint
A police officer against whom an allegation is made can be sure that the IPCC will act quickly, impartially and fairly. The IPCC and the police service work to ensure that the lessons learnt through complaints and investigations are used to improve policing and the service received by members of the public.
The role of the Police Federation
One of the Police Federation’s primary functions is to advise and assist its members when they are the subject of a formal complaint or investigation.
If you are the subject of a complaint, contact your local Police Federation representative. They will explain the procedure and what to do next.
A written notice will be issued where an assessment has been made that your conduct, if proven, would amount to misconduct or gross misconduct.
Ordinarily, a written notice will be issued to you as soon as possible following the assessment of your alleged conduct. The notice will tell you who is investigating the complaint against you, explain details of the alleged conduct and provide a reasoned assessment of whether the conduct amounts to misconduct or gross misconduct.
Conduct may sometimes be reassessed later. Generally, you should be provided with an additional written notice if the original assessment changes. The notice will inform you of your right to consult the Police Federation or any other body.
If you receive a written notice, contact your local Federation representative as soon as possible. This is important; at certain times the misconduct system only gives you limited time to take action. There is a specific opportunity to provide a written response to a written notice within ten working days but this may be extended by the investigator. You may wish to seek guidance on this matter before deciding whether to respond.
You will be informed of the progress of the investigation at various stages as it progresses.
Right to information during an investigation
The IPCC believes that making the investigator’s report available is the most transparent way to show what the investigation has found. This report may be disclosed to complainants, officers and police staff alike, subject to a harm test. A harm test is used to determine if there is information that would cause adverse effects if disclosed, such as risks to national security.
Interviews in misconduct investigations
You may be accompanied to an interview by a police friend. They will not be able to answer questions on your behalf, but will be able to advise you.
Whoever is investigating the complaint against you should contact you first to try to arrange a time for interview. If this isn’t possible they will send you details of a proposed date and time to meet. You have the right to suggest an alternative if either you or your police friend is unavailable on the proposed date. However, your suggested alternative must fall within five days of the first proposal.
An interview may not always be necessary and you may be asked to provide a written account of what happened instead. In such cases you still have the right to consult a Police Federation representative before sending your response.