How To Make A Complaint

It is inevitable that in a large organisation such as Lincolnshire Police, which has such varied and complex contacts with the public that complaints about police officers and police staff will occur, and you may feel dissatisfied or disappointed with the service you have received.

Lincolnshire Police take complaints and concerns about all people serving with the police and the services provided, seriously and we are committed to listening to you so that we can improve our service for the future.

Making a complaint

If you think that a police officer or member of police staff has behaved incorrectly or unfairly, you have the right to make a complaint. All police officers are governed by a discipline standard which are the “Standards of Professional Behaviour”, whilst police staff also have a disciplinary procedure. All our staff should deliver the services of Lincolnshire Police in accordance with our Staff Charter and P.R.I.D.E.

If you have concerns which relate to the organisation as a whole, for example with regard to the deployment of our staff, financial matters, matters of policy and procedure, you can also make a complaint around these areas. These are often referred to as “Direction and Control” complaints

The following guidance will help to make the assessment of any issue easier and quicker and for you to receive the most appropriate response and resolution to that concern.

Making a complaint against a person serving with the police

Complaints about the Chief Constable should be directed to the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

All other officers and staff are dealt with by either the Professional Standards Department or locally in the area in which the individual works. In some instances the complaint may be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission where the allegations are particularly serious.

Who can make a complaint?

Under the Police Reform Act 2002, the following people can make a complaint:-

  • Any member of the public who alleges that police misconduct was directed at them.
  • Any member of the public who alleges that they have been adversely affected by police misconduct, even if it was not directed at them.
  • Any member of the public who claims that they witnessed misconduct by the police.  This would not include a person who sees an incident on the news.

A person acting on behalf of someone, who falls within any of the three categories above; for example, a member of an organisation who has been given written permission by the complainant.

How to make a complaint?

To make a complaint you can:

  • Use our online form to make a complaint via this website.
  • Go into any local police station where you will be seen by a senior officer on duty, probably an Inspector or Sergeant.
  • Visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau, who can advise you whether you have grounds for a complaint.
  • Contact a solicitor or Member of Parliament.
  • Get someone else to put forward your complaint (eg a friend or neighbour, as long as they have a letter from you authorising them to do so).
  • Send an email to the Professional Standards Department
  • Write a full account to the Professional Standards Department
  • Write directly to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)

Complaints Contacts

Email: Complaints@lincs.pnn.police.uk

Or write to:

Professional Standards Department
Lincolnshire Police Headquarters
PO Box 999

In the case of a complaint against the Chief Constable please write to:

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Lincolnshire Police Headquarters
Deepdale Lane

or contact:

Independent Complaints Commission
90 High Holborn

Telephone: 0300 020 0096

What should my complaint say?

Your complaint should include:-

  • What happened
  • What was done
  • What was said
  • Whether there were any witnesses
  • Where the witnesses can be contacted
  • What proof exists of any damage or injuries, eg were photographs taken or medical advice sought?

How will my complaint be resolved?

If you are contacting the Professional Standards Department directly either through the website or letter, please include your daytime telephone contact. Your complaint will be acknowledged and we will endeavour to contact you to discuss with you, your complaint, how it will be handled and agree with you what will be done and how quickly.

Most complaints will be resolved at a local level, through a process called Local Resolution.  For example, allegations of rudeness are more likely to be dealt with on a local level as opposed to a full investigation, and can be dealt with swiftly and appropriately. In some cases it may be appropriate for an apology to be given, or a full explanation as to why certain actions were or were not taken  The Force will investigate all other complaints in the most appropriate manner and in very serious cases, the IPCC may conduct an independent investigation.

What is local resolution?

Many complaints can be resolved quickly and satisfactorily at a local level by officers working in your community.  Local resolution is intended to be quick and flexible, it provides the opportunity to explain your concerns to the police and receive an adequate response.  You will be asked to give your consent to the use of local resolution; we will then agree an action plan with you aimed at resolving your complaint quickly. The regulations do allow the police to locally resolve the matter without your consent in exceptional circumstances, but it is recognised that it is preferable for all concerned to agree an outcome together. 

How will I be kept informed of the progress of an investigation?

Whether your complaint is being investigated by the Police or the IPCC, The Investigator will inform you:-

  • How your complaint will be investigated
  • What co-operation they require from you
  • How a decision will be reached
  • What action may be taken at the conclusion of an investigation.

The Investigator will also agree with you how often and by which method you would like to be kept informed.

What will happen when the investigation is finished?

At the end of the investigation, the Investigator will inform you of the conclusions.  Possible outcomes could include:-

  • Not enough evidence to uphold your complaint.  This does not mean that you have not been believed, rather that there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation(s) made.
  • We may decide to improve or amend our procedures in response to a complaint.
  • We may take formal disciplinary or management action against a member of staff.
  • We may refer your case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on criminal prosecution.

Have I a right to appeal?

You will be informed of the right of appeal available and to whom this should be directed.

You may have a right of appeal to the IPCC if:

  • Your complaint has not been recorded by us.
  • We have not made a decision whether to record your complaint.
  • We have not informed you of our decision not to record your complaint.

You will have a right of appeal to the Deputy Chief Constable if:

  • You believe that local resolution procedures have not been carried out property.
  • You disagree with the action we propose to take as a result of the investigation.
  • You have not been provided with adequate information about the findings of the investigation.
  • You are not satisfied with the outcome of the Police investigation.

Appeal Forms

Direction and Control

“Direction and Control” matters include issues of strategy, policy, structure, organisation and central force command concerning general policing resources and budgetary issues.

Once we have received your report we will acknowledge it and write to you. These types of complaints are generally dealt with at a local level and by a member of the relevant division or department, who will contact you to discuss the matter as soon as possible.

Learning lessons

In all of our interactions with the public we are committed to providing the very best service. Lessons identified from all manner of complaints or dissatisfaction matters are fed back into the organisation to influence our future policies and service delivery. If you have any general comments to make about the service please tell us using the same links to Professional Standards or by writing to the Force at the address above.

Getting it right? Tell us about it !

Lincolnshire Police aims to provide a second to none policing service in all that we do and we value any feedback from our communities.

We are particularly interested to hear about occasions where we have provided an excellent service which we can share with our staff and use as examples of good practice.

If you have been impressed with the service you have received from Lincolnshire Police please tell us about it.

Write to:

Professional Standards Department
Lincolnshire Police Headquarters
PO Box 999

Updated: 27th January 2015 at 10:22

Complaints - Online Form

Use this form to make a complaint about a member of Lincolnshire Police.
Date Created: 9th November 2010  Last Updated: 19th June 2014