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Making a complaint about the Police to the Independent Office for Police Misconduct (IOPC/IPCC)

Making a complaint about the Police to the Independent Office for Police Misconduct (IOPC/IPCC)

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees complaints made about the police in England and Wales. In some circumstances, for our solicitors to be able to assess your claim against the police for misconduct, we recommend you make a formal complaint to the IOPC.

Making a complaint to the IOPC at an early stage can, in some cases assist with your civil case for damages. In some cases, a complaint to the IOPC can take around 18 months to conclude before you can start your civil case. We find even when a complaint has been finalized, the legal department of the relevant police force do not always accept the findings and may still deny liability. If your complaint involved gross misconduct by an officer, then we would advise you to make a formal complaint to the IOPC.

Previously known as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), they became the IOPC in January 2018. They make their decision entirely independent from the police and government, investigating the most serious matters and setting the standards by which the police should handle complaints. The IOPC investigates only certain complaints made against the police involving death, serious assault or sexual offences in other cases they may refer your case to the relevant forces Professional Standards Department.

The IOPC received a total of 31,671 complaints in the year 2017/18. Police forces themselves handle the majority of complaints against police officers and police staff, but the most serious cases are referred to the IOPC. In certain situations, the IOPC also considers applications for review or appeal from those who are unhappy with the outcome of their police complaint or the way it has been handled by the police.

The IOPC themselves cannot order that compensation be paid. However, a successful police complaint does assist in the civil claims process. If you are looking to claim compensation for police misconduct, HNK’s civil actions against the police department can help you do so, after your complaint to the IOPC has been handled.

How to make a complaint to the IOPC/IPCC?

If possible, you should make your complaint to the IOPC within 12 months of the alleged misconduct. You should submit this claim in writing with all the relevant information including:


  • Your full name
  • Your contact information and address
  • The name of the police force you wish to be subject to investigation
  • Details of the misconduct you are complaining about and an explanation of the outcome you are seeking (e.g. a specific officer to be disciplined)
  • Information about why you feel the police have acted inappropriately or abused their powers and what they should’ve done differently
  • Any witness details
  • A list of any other questions you want them to answer
IOPC or IPCC Complaints

Our actions against the police department can help you create this written complaint. When you have written up your complaint, send it to one of our expert solicitors and we will check the content and provide any assistance or advice before you send it to the IOPC.

Download Our Guide

Get in touch

Fill out the below form and one of our advisors will get in touch to arrange a consultation about your claim.

Call 0151 203 1104

enquiries@hnksolicitors.com Mon – Thu 09:00-19:00
Fri – 09:00-17:00

What happens after a complaint is made to the IOPC/IPCC?

You should receive a response of acknowledgement from the IOPC once your complaint has been lodged. If they make the decision to refer it to the Professional Standards Department you should expect a response within 15 working days explaining whether the complaint will be investigated and how, as well as a reason for why the decision was made however this can take much longer in many cases.


Police complaints are internal disciplinary matters and if successful the complaint can result in advice being given to the police officer(s) concerned, additional training, formal warnings or even dismissal.

Free Consultation

HNK offer a free no-obligation consultation, where we can assess your case and advise you on whether you have the right to claim compensation, and how much you could get.


We offer a no-win-no-fee service so it costs you nothing upfront to start your claim and if your claim is unsuccessful, you won’t have to pay a penny.

Client Communication

Once you instruct us, we handle everything for you and keep you regularly updated on the progress of your case.

How HNK Solicitors can help with your IOPC/IPCC police complaint?

Most people come to us for help with claims against the police, however, in appropriate circumstances, they can also make complaints against the police. Making a complaint to the police is not the same as taking legal action against them and compensation is not payable in police complaints. Pursuing legal action is known as a civil claim and our team of expert solicitors can advise you on whether you have grounds for a civil claim as well as a complaint and can ensure your complaint is pursued appropriately.


Alternatively, when you receive your final written response from your complaint, contact HNK solicitors and we will review the response and assess the prospects of you making a successful civil claim and explain whether you are entitled to claim compensation.


Call us on - 0151 203 1104 | Email us at - enquiries@hnksolicitors.com


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    Matthew John Bindley
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