How to make a complaint

There may be a time when you feel dissatisfied or disappointed with the service you have received from us. We take complaints seriously as an opportunity to listen, reflect and learn when something has gone wrong.  

Easy read

View Easy Read documents on the complaints process.

What can you complain about?

You can make a complaint about any aspect of the police service that has had an adverse effect on you. You may have a complaint about the way a police officer or a person who works for Lincolnshire Police has dealt with you, or something they have or haven’t done. Or you may have a complaint about decisions made by Lincolnshire Police as a whole which have affected you, for example about policing in your local area, a force policy or crime initiative.

Who can make a complaint?

If you are a member of the public who has been adversely affected by the actions of Lincolnshire Police, either because you were directly involved or you have been otherwise affected, you can complain.  This might be because you have suffered some form of loss, damage, distress or inconvenience, or if you have been put at risk or in danger.

You can also complain about the conduct of individual officers or members of staff if you were there and witnessed it in person, even if you weren’t directly involved or affected.

You can appoint someone else to make a complaint on your behalf if you wish, for example a relative, friend or carer. You will need to confirm in writing that you are happy for that person to act on your behalf.

Who can’t make a complaint?

You can’t make a complaint about something where you were not adversely affected or physically there to witness it, for example something you see or hear on the news, something you see in a television program or a post that’s been shared on social media. You can still tell us about it, but it will not be treated as a complaint.

Sometimes your complaint may be about a different police force or something that is dealt with by another organisation. If we think someone else should deal with your complaint, we will contact you.   

People who work for Lincolnshire Police cannot usually complain, but there are other ways to raise concerns. Please talk to the Professional Standards Department for more information.

How to make a complaint

Complaints about the service you have received from Lincolnshire Police are dealt with by the Professional Standards Department, unless it is a complaint against the Chief Constable.

Complaints against the Chief Constable are dealt with by the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC). Go to the OPCC Lincolnshire website.


Use our online complaints form on our new beta website to make a complaint.  

In person

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

In writing

Write to:

Professional Standards Department
Lincolnshire Police Headquarters
PO Box 999

If you feel you need extra help to make your complaint, for example because you have a disability, struggle with reading and writing or find it hard to communicate in English, please email us at: or ring 101 for advice on how we can help.

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

  • Why you are complaining, i.e. what happened and when;
  • Who was involved, including the details of any witnesses;
  • If there was any damage or injuries (it may be helpful to take photos);
  • Your contact details and how you would prefer us to contact you.

What happens when you make a complaint?

When we receive your complaint, we will contact you to discuss your concerns and how you would like us to handle your complaint. We will do our best to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction as quickly as possible. This might be by:

  • Providing information, an update or an explanation;
  • Organising the return of property;
  • Apologising if you have received poor service;
  • Taking steps to prevent a mistake from happening again;
  • Explaining other options which may be available to you, e.g. Victim’s Right to Review.

If you are still not satisfied, or your complaint is particularly complicated and/or serious, you can ask that your complaint is formally recorded and we will agree a reasonable and proportionate approach to how we can respond to your concerns and try to resolve them.

In some cases, for example where the complaint allegations are very serious or someone has been injured, we will carry out an investigation. The investigating officer will contact you to discuss the complaint, what they will do to investigate it and agree how and when they will keep you updated during the investigation.

In certain circumstances, we are required to refer complaints to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and they will decide the method of investigation.  See more information on the OPCC for Lincolnshire website.

What happens next?

We will do our best to resolve your complaint straight away. If we need to make further enquiries or carry out an investigation, when we have finished looking into your complaint we will write to you with a full explanation of what we have found.

If the service we provided was not acceptable, we will apologise and explain what action we will take. This might be:

  • Sharing learning or service improvements, either with an individual or the across the police force;
  • Reviewing a policy or procedure;
  • Reviewing information on police records or databases; or
  • In very serious cases, we may consider disciplinary action or refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider if a criminal offence has been committed.  

What if you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint?

If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint, you have a right to apply for a review. Your letter will tell you who will consider your review and the timescales to apply. Your review will be carried out by either:

  1. Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Lincolnshire, or
  2. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)

depending on the circumstances of your complaint. If you request a review, please be aware that information generated and reviewed as part of your complaint will then be shared with the OPCC and their third party provider (Sancus Solutions Ltd) or the IOPC, to enable them to investigate and review your case appropriately. 

More information about reviews can be found on the IOPC website

More information about how we may share your data can be found on our Privacy Notice page.

Independent Office for Police Conduct

We recommend that you make your complaint directly to Lincolnshire Police, but if you prefer you can complain by contacting the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC):

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Phone: 0300 020 0096
  • In writing: IOPC, PO Box 473, Sale, M33 0BW

However, please be aware that your complaint will automatically be passed to Lincolnshire Police, unless there are exceptional circumstances that justify not passing it on.

See the IOPC guide on How to make a complaint: A guide to the complaints system

Other help and advice

Your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau can give you advice on whether you have grounds for a complaint and help on how to make one. You can also contact your Member of Parliament or talk to a solicitor. 

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 Lincolnshire Police please tell us about it.

Write to:

Professional Standards Department
Lincolnshire Police Headquarters
PO Box 999

(Office hours Monday to Thursday 8am to 4pm and Friday 8am to 3.30pm)

Or you can complete our Say Thank You form.  


Who are the Professional Standards Department?

The Professional Standards Department are part of Lincolnshire Police. Our job is to uphold and promote the standards of professional behaviour in the force.  These standards are set out in our Code of Ethics. We ensure that the force uses information from complaints to identify lessons and establish a culture of learning and development.

Who are the IOPC?

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales. They investigate the most serious matters, including deaths following police contact, and set the standards by which the police should handle complaints. They are independent, and make their decisions entirely independently of the police and government.

How long will my complaint take and how will you keep me informed?

We will try to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible, but if we need to make further enquiries or carry out an investigation, this can sometimes take longer. You should receive an update on how your case is progressing at least every 28 days. The person dealing with your complaint will discuss how you want to be updated with you.

I’m not good with this sort of thing. Can someone else complain for me?

Yes, you can appoint someone else to deal with your complaint on your behalf. This could be a friend or relative, or someone like a solicitor or your local MP. You will need to provide written authorisation for someone else to act for you, so that we can share your personal information with them. 

I have a disability and need extra help; what should I do?

Please let us know, and we will discuss with you what steps we can put in place to help.

Do I have to be over 18 to make a complaint?

No, there is no age limit. However, if you are under 16, we will ask you if you want a parent, guardian or other adult to help you through the process.

Related Documents & Further Reading

09 Dec 21 5:16 PM

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