Information for police officers and staff

This section provides information about the police complaints system for police officers and police staff.

It explains the role of the IPCC in relation to police officers and police staff, and sets out the aims that the Police Federation, PCS, UNISON and the IPCC share for the police complaints system.

We have also produced a guide that explains what you should do if you receive a complaint , an interactive PDF and a poster. To order copies of the leaflet please complete this form.

The role of the IPCC

The IPCC oversees the whole of the police complaints system. It is independent, making its decisions entirely independently of the police, government and complainants.

Police forces deal directly with most complaints against their officers and staff, while the IPCC investigates the most serious complaints, incidents and allegations of misconduct. Both deal with appeals from people who are not satisfied with the way their complaint has been dealt with.

The IPCC also has an oversight and public confidence role, which involves monitoring the way complaints are handled by local police services. This ensures that the lessons learned from complaints and investigations are fed back into operational policing.

Additionally, the Learning the Lessons Committee helps the police service improve by learning from investigations and other operations of the police complaints / conduct system. The Committee produces bulletins three times a year, which are available on our Learning the Lessons pages.

The IPCC can:

  • manage or supervise a police investigation into a complaint

  • independently investigate the most serious complaints and incidents

  • issue Statutory Guidance to forces and local policing bodies on complaint handling

  • analyse information from cases and research complaint trends

  • use call-in powers for the most serious cases

  • promote access to the complaints system by working with voluntary and community organisations

  • use its monitoring and oversight function

  • work in partnership with the police service to drive forward improvements

Statutory guidance

The IPCC has a statutory duty to secure and maintain public confidence in the police complaints system in England and Wales. The guidance has an important part to play in this. It is one of the ways in which we assist local forces and policing bodies to comply with their legal obligations and achieve high standards in the handling of complaints, conduct and death and serious injury (DSI) matters. 

Forms for police 

We are currently testing these forms. We will be contacting appropriate authorities individually about using them when they are ready to use. Please continue to submit forms in the usual way in the meantime.

Appropriate authorities should use our forms for police to complete the following:

  • Referral
  • Application for dispensation (PRA only)
  • Application to discontinue an investigation
  • Application for local resolution
  • Notification of a withdrawn complaint
  • Application for permission to disapply (PRSRA only)

You can only access these forms when logged into the GSI and PNN networks. 

Online forms are the quickest way of sending information to the IPCC and all correspondence we receive electronically via the internet enters an electronic post room and is managed by one team for optimum efficiency.


How to complete the online forms

Questions and answers


Our Customer Contact Centre receives all forms submitted online. You can contact them on 0300 020 0096.