How to make a complaint

We are committed to providing a high standard of service. However, there may be occasions when you feel dissatisfied with some aspects of the service and wish to make a complaint.

Making a complaint against an officer or member of staff

If you think the conduct or behaviour of a police officer, police staff member, special constable or G4S member of staff has been inappropriate or fell below expectation, you can make a complaint.

Complaints made more than 12 months after the alleged incident will still be reviewed but we may not record or investigate them.

Complaints about staff are dealt with under the Police Reform Act 2002.

You should direct complaints about the Chief Constable to the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is responsible for the system of making complaints against the police.  They may independently investigate those that raise more serious allegations.

Standards of professional behaviour

The behaviours of our officers and staff are set out in our standards of professional behaviour.  You can view this on our values and behaviours page.

The Code of Ethics, produced by the College of Policing, sets out the standards of behaviour for everyone who works in policing. View the code of ethics on the College of Policing website.

Complaints against the organisation or about force policies

These are known as 'direction and control' complaints.  They are matters that relate to the direction and control of a police force by the chief officer or someone carrying out the chief officer’s functions. This may include operational policies, corporate strategy, decisions about resources or general standards. If you have concerns which relate to the organisation as a whole, you can make a complaint.  

Who can make a complaint?

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 were witness to 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 who has written permission by the complainant.

How to make a complaint


You can use our online form to make a complaint.

Go to our online complaint form

By phone

To make a complaint by phone, please call 101 and ask for the Professional standards Department.

In person

Visit any local police station where a senior officer on duty will talk with you.  Find your local police station.

In writing

By email to:

Or write to:

Professional Standards Department
Lincolnshire Police Headquarters
PO Box 999

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

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Lincolnshire Police Headquarters
Deepdale Lane

Through other agencies

Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)
90 High Holborn
0300 020 0096

Citizens Advice Bureau
Visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau, who can advise whether you have grounds for a complaint.

You can also contact a solicitor or member of parliament who can make a complaint for you.

You can find out who your MP is on the Parliament website:
020 7219 4272

To access complaints information in alternative formats visit the IPCC website.

Deaf or hard of hearing

The IPCC video below explains in British sign language how you can make a complaint.

Information to include in a complaint

Please include as much detail as possible in your complaint.  It should include:

  • the name of any staff involved
  • what happened
  • what was done or said
  • where it happened
  • when it happened
  • whether there were any witnesses and their contact details
  • if you or someone else were hurt
  • if something was broken or damaged
  • what you would like us to do to
  • your contact details

What happens to your complaint?

Our Professional Standards Department will consider your complaint and a decision made about whether or not to record it as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002. You will be notified of that decision within 15 working days.

If a decision is made not to record your complaint you can appeal the decision to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

We will acknowledge your complaint and will contact you to explain how we will handle it.  We will discuss and agree with you what we will do and how long it might take.

We can resolve most complaints at local level, through a process called local resolution.  This might be more appropriate than a full investigation, for example for allegations of rudeness. 

In some cases it may be appropriate to give an apology, or a full explanation on why certain actions were or were not taken.  We will investigate all other complaints in the most appropriate manner.  In serious cases, the IPCC may conduct an independent investigation.

Service recovery

If your dissatisfaction is based on a misunderstanding, or because there has been a breakdown in communication, then we may deal with the matter immediately by contacting the person to explain.  This is known as the service recovery process.

There is no need to record your concern as a Police Reform Act (PRA) complaint, if you are satisfied with the explanation and confirm that you no longer wish to pursue a complaint.

You will always be able to continue to pursue a complaint if you are not satisfied that you have received a full explanation for your concerns.

Local resolution

Local resolution is a process of understanding your complaint and resolving it directly with you. It may involve pursuing a particular course of action, an apology in appropriate circumstances or an explanation of why events unfolded as they did.

We will ask you 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. Regulations do allow us to use local resolution without your consent.  We recognise that it is preferable for all concerned to agree an outcome together.

Local resolution cannot result in misconduct proceedings against an officer, member of police staff or member of G4S staff.  Once the local resolution process is complete, we will close your complaint.

How we will keep you informed during an investigation

Whoever investigates your complaint, the investigator will inform you:

  • how we will investigate your complaint
  • what co-operation they need from you
  • how we will reach a decision

The investigator will also agree with you how often and by which method we will keep you informed.

What happens at the end of investigation?

At the end of the investigation, the investigator will inform you of the conclusions. A report is submitted to our Professional Standards Department.  The following are possible outcomes of the investigation:

  • There may not be enough evidence to uphold your complaint.  This means that there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation(s) made. This does not mean that we do not believe you.
  • 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.

Right to appeal

We will inform you of the right of appeal available and who you should direct this to.

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 were not carried out properly
  • you disagree with the action we propose to take as a result of the investigation
  • you were not provided with adequate information about the findings of the investigation
  • you are not satisfied with the outcome of the police investigation

Use the relevant form to make an appeal

Learning lessons

In all our interactions with the public we commit to providing the best service. We identify lessons learnt from complaints or dissatisfaction matters and feed them back into the organisation to influence future policies and service delivery. If you have any general comments to make about the service please tell us by contacting us on any of the above methods.

Getting it right? Tell us about it

We aim to provide a high standard of 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.  This is so 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 us please tell us about it.

Write to:

Professional Standards Department
Lincolnshire Police Headquarters
PO Box 999


How to make a complaint to the IPCC (in British sign language)

British sign language video on how to make a complaint to the IPCC

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1 Feb 16 at 1:24 PM

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