Prior to submitting a complaint consider if any of the below options are more apt.
If you have an emergency, then call 999.
If you wish to report a crime or incident, please call 101.
In some cases officers will have provided you with their contact details; only if they have not given you details or you cannot contact them, then call 101.
If you require police information, please visit website link: Requests for Personal Information (durham.police.uk)
- If you require police information about yourself, outside of a complaints case, please contact – Data Protection. (Please note third party information cannot be given).
- If you require any other Force non personal information; please contact Freedom of Information
For Police related damages/claims for compensation, email Legal Services at Legal@durham.police.uk
- If you require information regarding speed awareness or fixed penalty tickets, please use contact link from website – Road Safety Bureau (durham.police.uk)
- If you require information regarding Firearms Licensing please use contact link from website - Firearms Licensing (durham.police.uk)
- If you require information regarding return of your personal property – please firstly contact the Officer in the case. Only if they are not available, contact the relevant property office:-
If you require Neighbourhood Policing their details can be found here.
Who can complain?
Complaints can be raised by other people on complainant’s behalf, but only with their written consent.
A complainant must be a member of the public who:
• claims to be the person in relation to whom the conduct took place
• claims to have been adversely affected by the conduct
• claims to have witnessed the conduct, or
• is acting on behalf of someone who satisfies one of the above three criteria
A person will be considered to have been adversely affected if they have suffered any form of loss, damage, distress or inconvenience as a result of the matter complained about, if they have been put in danger or otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected
A person will not be considered to have witnessed what they are complaining about solely by virtue of having seen or heard about the conduct or its effects, (for example, in the news or being told about it by a third party).
By submitting a complaint to us you give us permission to share your data with any other party relevant to the complaints process. This includes but not exclusive to the IOPC (Independent Office of Police Conduct) and the Office of Police Crime Commissioner (OPCC). Any statistical data is anonymised.
Expectations about the behaviour of both police officers and members of police staff are set out in their respective Standards of Professional Behaviour.
If a complainant needs assistance with translation of the complaints process into any other language, please contact the Professional Standards Complaints Department and we will arrange this for them.
How can I make a complaint about the conduct of a person serving with the police?
Complain online here.
You can complain in person at your local station or any other station within Durham Constabulary. You should ask to speak with a supervisory officer who will speak to you about your complaint and will explain your options.
Write to the following address:
Professional Standards Department
Peterlee Police Office
St Aidans Way
Other ways or support to make a complaint
You can also:
They will pass on the details of your complaint to the Professional Standards Department.
The role of the Independent Office for Police Conduct
Complaints about the conduct of people serving with the police can be sent to the IOPC, but the IOPC does not have the power to record complaints. If you complain to the IOPC, it must, by law, forward the complaint back to the force involved for consideration. In order to have your complaint dealt with as quickly as possible, we advise you to complain to Durham Constabulary using one of the methods set out above.
The IOPC also investigates the most serious complaints and allegations of misconduct against the police in England and Wales. These complaints are referred to the IOPC by police forces. The IOPC may decide to investigate an incident using its own investigators (referred to as an independent investigation). Alternatively, it can direct a police investigation into the matter. The IOPC will only conduct independent investigations into incidents that cause the greatest level of public concern – for example, deaths in or following police custody.
Professional Standards have overall responsibility for recording and handling expressions of dissatisfaction and complaints about the conduct of individual officers or members of police staff. The Professional Standards Department is completely separate from the officers or members of staff who are complained about.
The complaint process will follow the following steps:
Your complaint will initially be triaged by our Complaint Resolution Team. If they are unable to resolve your complaint or there are complex issues, they can/will escalate your dissatisfaction to a senior decision maker; referred to as the Appropriate Authority, who will determine the response and necessary actions.
How will my complaint be dealt with?
Once your complaint is assessed, accepted, and recorded as being about the conduct of a police officer or member of police staff, the Appropriate Authority will write to you to advise the means in which it will be dealt with. Options include:-
Reasonable and proportionate outcome (process applicable for complaints with effect from 01/02/2020)
We will seek to understand your complaint and resolve it by taking action which is reasonable and proportionate and provides a relevant outcome to the issue you complained about. It is suitable only for complaints which, even if proven or admitted by the person(s) complained against, would not result in misconduct proceedings being taken.
If your complaint is suitable for reasonable and proportionate outcome resolution, the case handler dealing with your complaint will explain to you why this is. The case handler will seek to understand your complaint and the impact it has had on you and will then explain the action that that they can take to provide a reasonable and proportionate outcome to your complaint. In most cases this will be documented in an action plan and, while your consent is not needed for us to resolve your complaint in this manner, you will have an opportunity to comment on what is to be done.
It is important to the Durham Constabulary that we maintain public trust and confidence and handling complaints in this way allows lessons to be learned quickly, and improvements to be made to the way we do things.
If your complaint is not suitable for reasonable and proportionate outcome resolution because of the nature of the allegation, or if the local manager decides that in all the circumstances subjecting it to reasonable and proportionate outcome resolution would not provide a proper outcome to your complaint, then a local investigation will be carried out.
The type of investigation, and who conducts it, will depend on the nature and seriousness of your complaint and the likely outcome. An investigation might range from telephone enquiries conducted in a few hours to a more extensive process perhaps taking a number of weeks. All investigations are either conducted by, or have oversight from, a member of the Professional Standards Department and you will be notified of the outcome.
Requesting a review of the way the police have handled your complaint
If you have made a complaint against the police and you are not happy with the way it has been handled, where relevant the Professional Standards Department will advise you who to contact for your Independent Review, in the outcome correspondence.
Depending on the allegation, the Independent Review Body will either be the Office of the Police Crime Commissioner (OPCC), or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)
In addition to having an Independent Right to Review with the IOPC regarding certain completed complaints, the IOPC can be contacted to regarding a decision, made by the police force, to not look into your complaint or to suspend it while associated criminal cases are ongoing.
For more information and the role of the IOPC visit the IOPC's website.