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FAQ about making a complaint

Who deals with complaints about the police?

We hope that you are happy with the service that we provide and that you’ll have no reason to complain - however if there is something that you are unhappy with, we’d like you to tell us about it so that we can try to resolve this for you.

We’re totally committed to addressing all complaints, fully, fairly and in a reasonable timeframe.

Here are the ways you can contact us: 

  • Log the complaint with the police by completing an online complaint form
  • Call 101, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Visit one of the following stations who may be able to resolve the complaint directly

Watford Police Station
Shady Lane
WD17 1DD                      


Hatfield Police Station
Comet Way
AL10 9SJ


Stevenage Police Station
Lytton Way


  • Email the Complaints Resolution Team (CRT) at the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire (OPCC) at:
  • Call the CRT at the OPCC on 01707 806111 between 10am to 1pm, Monday to Friday to speak to an advisor.
  • Write to the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, 15 Vaughan Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 4GZ.

Please remember to be ready to provide your details, including your name, address, email, contact number and preferred way of communicating.

To help us resolve your complaint as quickly as possible it would be helpful if you could include the following points in your contact: 

  • what happened
  • when it happened
  • who was involved
  • what was said or done
  • were there any witnesses
  • was there any damage or injury caused
  • any reference numbers that you have been given

What can I complain about?

You can complain about the behaviour that has directly affected you, adversely affected you or you have witnessed. If you wish to make a complaint on behalf of someone else who falls into one of the above categories, you will require written permission from the person affected. Solicitors must also gain written permission if they are acting on a person’s behalf. Those working within the Police Service should behave appropriately at all times and are expected to conduct themselves in the manner set out in the Code of Ethics from the College of Policing.

Their expectations include the requirement to:

  • act with honestly, integrity, fairness and impartiality

  • treat members of the public and colleagues with respect

  • not abuse their power and authority

  • act in a manner that does not discredit or undermine public confidence in the Police Service. 

  • If you feel that someone working for the Police has not met these standards you can make a complaint. 

Who will deal with my complaint?

There are four areas in which complaints can reside:

  • Hertfordshire Police
  • Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC)
  • Professional Standards Department (PSD)
  • Independent Office Of Police Conduct (IOPC)

Whether your complaint is handled by the OPCC Customer Response Team, Professional Standards Department or by the IOPC, you have the right to be told how it will be dealt with, what action may be taken as a result and how decisions will be made. The relevant department will also consult with you on how often you will be kept informed and how this will happen. Your complaint will be dealt with through either the dissatisfaction procedure, by way of Local Resolution or a proportionate investigation. 

Hertfordshire Police 

Upon contact with Hertfordshire Police via the 101 telephone service or at a police station, staff may be able to quickly answer an enquiry which may result in the complaint not needing to go any further.  If an acceptable explanation has been provided upon initial contact there will be no requirement to register a complaint. 

Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC) 

The OPCC will deal with the logging of all complaints received regarding Hertfordshire Constabulary and triage accordingly. OPCC will deal with all low level/dissatisfactions and aim to do this in a quick and efficient manner, offering a speedy acknowledgement and communication with the complainant to ascertain details on the nature of the complaint and expectations so the issues can be progressed with a clear understanding from both parties. If Herts OPCC is unable to resolve the complaint to the satisfaction of the recipient, it can be referred to the Professional Standards Department (PSD) or the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) where applicable. The OPCC will also monitor the outcome of the complaint and uses data collated to gather trends, identify learning and improve the service provided to the public.

The OPCC has responsibility for delivering an efficient and effective police service in their area. The Commissioner’s role is to support and when necessary, challenge the Chief Constable. With respect to complaints, the Police and Crime Commissioner is required to oversee all complaints made against officers and staff. They also have responsibility for complaints against the Chief Constable.

They are the relevant review body for complaints that have been dealt with locally. If you wish to request a review.

More information on the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire can be found at the website. 

Professional Standards Department (PSD)

Some complaints are not suitable for local resolution or handling by the OPCC. This is because they could result in criminal or misconduct proceedings being taken against police officers or police staff if proved. If your complaint is not suitable for local resolution, your complaint will be investigated instead by PSD/IOPC. A local investigation may be carried out by a police investigator. The investigator will either be from the Professional Standards Department (PSD), or from another police department.

You will be informed about:

  • how your complaint will be investigated
  • what co-operation is required from you
  • how a decision will be reached
  • what action will be taken at the end of the investigation

The type of investigation will depend on the nature and seriousness of your complaint and the likely outcome. An investigation might range from telephone enquiries conducted in a few hours to a more extensive process perhaps taking a number of months. You have a right of appeal following an investigation. 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)

Complaints about police can be sent to the IOPC, but the IOPC does not have the power to record complaints. If you complain to the IOPC, it must by law, forward the complaint back to the force involved for consideration.

The IOPC will investigates the most serious complaints and allegations of misconduct against the police in England and Wales. These complaints are referred to the IOPC by Police forces. They will only undertake independent investigations in the most serious circumstances which include death or serious injury or a breach of Article 2 or 3 of the ECHR. In their circumstances the IOPC would appoint their own investigator. Alternatively, they can direct the police investigation into the matter.

More information about the IOPC can be found on their website.

Unhappy with the outcome your complaint

Following the conclusion of your complaint, if it has been dealt with by OPCC CRT and you remain dissatisfied, you will have a right to have it referred to PSD and will follow the complaint handling process used within this department. If you are unhappy with the outcome of a complaint that was dealt with by PSD, whether handled locally or by means of an investigation, then you can request a review, this must be requested outlining the reasons why within 28 days of receiving the final decision letter.

The review will be dealt with by either the OPCC or the IOPC. You will be advised of the relevant review body at the conclusion of the complaint.

Please check your complaint outcome letter which will have been sent to you to confirm who you should make a review request to. 

Organisations that may be able to assist and support you

If you need any assistance with making a complaint then the below organisations may be able to assist you. If they can’t please get in touch and we will try and assist in providing the appropriate support.

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