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National Helpline for LGBT+ Victims and Survivors of Abuse and Violence0800 999 5428

Email help@galop.org.uk

Police complaints

If you’ve had a bad experience with the police, this factsheet explains how to make an official complaint.

If you feel you have been treated badly by the police in any way Galop can help you to make an official complaint. We will take the details of your complaint and pass them to the official Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) so that they can record it.

Galop can advise you on the best way to approach your complaint, help you articulate your issues and help to make sure you meet any deadlines for submitting information if necessary. Submitting through Galop will not give your complaint any ‘preferential attention’ but we will try and monitor the progress of your complaint.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances you should make your complaint within 12 months of the alleged incident

The sort of things Galop can help you complain about

Misconduct can range from minor incidents such as an officer being rude to you, through to unlawful arrest, use of force or even suspicious injuries or death in custody.

  • Homophobia or transphobia from any officer or member of police staff
  • Inappropriate or unsympathetic behaviour or responses from any officer or other member of police staff
  • Insufficient attention is given to a homophobic or transphobic incident you have reported to the police
  • The unsatisfactory outcome of a police investigation of a homophobic or transphobic incident you have reported

What to expect when you make your complaint

Most complaints will be dealt with by the relevant local force. More serious complaints may involve a more formal investigation.

Whoever is handling your complaint, you should have the right to be kept informed about any action and decisions taken. An agreement should be made with you if the police have recorded your complaint, about the best way to keep you informed.

What happens once your complaint has been investigated?

Possible results might be:

  • the police may improve or change their procedures
  • the police may take disciplinary action against the officer or person being complained about
  • in more serious cases the police or IPCC may take your complaint further by passing it to the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS). The CPS will decide if there is enough information for someone to be taken to a criminal court

What if you are not happy with how your complaint was handled?

In certain circumstances, you may be able to appeal to the IPCC if:

  • your complaint was not properly ‘recorded’ by the police
  • the police didn’t handle your complaint in the way that you agreed at the start of the process
  • you have not been given enough information about what the investigation has found