Once our experienced officers have investigated your complaint, they’ll work with you to resolve it. But what if you can’t agree on an outcome?

Find out below what to expect at the end of the complaints process and how to appeal the outcome if you need to.

What outcome can I expect from my complaint?

The outcome of your complaint will be based on what you’ve agreed with the Directorate of Professional Standards or local resolution team.

In the case of local resolution, an officer or staff member could provide you with an explanation, offer an apology and identify learning to prevent the same thing happening in the future.

For any outcome, we’ll provide a summary of what we did, what we found and how we reached our conclusions. We’ll also include:

  • whether your complaint was upheld

  • whether we found any of our officers or staff to be unprofessional

  • any learning opportunities resulting from your complaint

  • any action taken against our officers and staff

Finally, we’ll let you know any follow-on actions, such as:

  • improvement or changes to our procedures

  • giving formal advice to improve individuals’ performance

  • a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service for criminal charges

  • formal misconduct proceedings, which could lead to dismissal

  • agreement that something went wrong, and deciding that no other action is appropriate

What is an appeal?

An appeal is a review of how the investigation into your complaint was completed. Where an appeal is made we don’t reinvestigate the complaint itself. Following a review, we’ll always let you know if the appeal has been upheld or not.

How do I appeal the outcome of a complaint?

If you’re unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, you might be able to appeal. At the end of our investigation, we’ll let you know how to submit an appeal and when you need to do it by.

Appeals are handled by the DPS Appeals Unit or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Download the DPS appeals form.

The DPS Appeals Unit deals with all appeals that relate to:

  •  complaints that have been dealt with under local resolution
  •  complaints that haven’t resulted in formal misconduct or criminal proceedings

 The IOPC deals with appeals about:

  • our failure to record a complaint
  • the outcome of a local or supervised investigation

If you need more advice

If you're still not sure what to do next or you need more information, contact the Independent Office for Police Conduct or an organisation such as your local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can also talk to a legal adviser.