What happens when you make a complaint?

Your complaint will be assessedrecorded by the Directorate of Standards and Ethics (DSE) of Cleveland Police.

How will your complaint be dealt with?

Whether your complaint is handled by Cleveland Police or by the IPOC, 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. Cleveland Police or the IPOC will also agree with you how often you will be kept informed and how this will happen. Your complaint will be dealt with by way of Local Resolution or a proportionate investigation.

Local Resolution

Local resolution is a way of understanding your complaint and resolving it by explaining, clearing up or settling the matter directly with you. It cannot result in misconduct proceedings being taken against an officer or member of police staff and once the local resolution process is completed, your complaint will be closed.

The decision to locally resolve a complaint is at the discretion of the Force. Your consent is not required, however your co-operation is beneficial to resolving the issues raised satisfactorily.

Some complaints are not suitable for local resolution. 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.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the local resolution, you may be able to appeal. The exception to this is when the complaint was about a direction and control issue. In most circumstances, appeals against the outcome of the local resolution process will be handled by the chief officer of the police force.

Please ensure that you send your appeal to the organisation you were told would handle your appeal in order to avoid delays.

Alternatively, if the appeal is for the IPOC to consider, then the appeal documents can be downloaded from their website, which is accessible via the link above.

We must receive your appeal within 28 days of the date of the letter telling you about the outcome of the complaint. This includes the time your appeal spends in the post.

You can appeal if:

  • you do not agree with the outcome of the local resolution
  • you think that the outcome of the local resolution of your complaint was not a proper one. This means that, for example, you believe the outcome was not appropriate to the complaint, or the outcome did not reflect the evidence available.

Local investigations

If your complaint is not suitable for local resolution, a local investigation will be carried out by a police investigator. The investigator will either be from the Directorate of Standards and Ethics (DSE), 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 a local investigation.

IPOC investigations

The police must refer certain serious complaints or incidents to the IPOC. When they receive a referral the IPOC assess all the information and decide how best to deal with the matter. They may decide to investigate using their own investigators or manage or supervise a police investigation into the matter.