Referral to the IPCC is an important part of ensuring independence, accountability and integrity of the police complaints system. This page provides an overview on referrals to the IPCC; full details are available in our statutory guidance.
Complaints that must be referred to the IPCC:
- allegations that the conduct complained of led to someone dying or being seriously injured
- complaints which fall within the mandatory referral criteria (see below)
Conduct matters that must be referred to the IPCC:
- conduct that has led to someone dying or being seriously injured
- matters which fall within the mandatory referral criteria (see below)
Appropriate authorities must also make referrals when the IPCC requires the matter to be referred. This is regardless of whether the matter is already being investigated or if the IPCC has considered it previously.
Referral of death or serious injury (DSI) matters:
All DSI matters must be referred to the IPCC.
A DSI matter means any circumstances in which a person has died or sustained serious injury and:
- had been arrested or was otherwise detained in custody at the time
- had contact of any kind with a person serving with the police that may have caused or contributed to the death or serious injury.
Mandatory referral criteria
The appropriate authority must refer complaints and conduct matters involving:
- serious assault
- serious sexual offence
- serious corruption
- criminal offence or behaviour that would lead to misconduct proceedings and that is aggravated by discriminatory behaviour on the grounds of a person’s race, sex, religion or other status identified in the IPCC Statutory Guidance
- certain types of criminal offence (known as relevant offences)
- complaints or conduct matters which are alleged to have arisen from the same incident as anything falling within these criteria
If you have a question about whether your complaint has been or will be referred to the IPCC, contact the organisation dealing with the complaint.
When we receive a referral, we will consider the matter and any other information available. Having taken into account the seriousness of the case and the public interest, we then decide on the method of investigation:
- Local investigation
- supervised investigation
- managed investigation
- independent investigation