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Complaints about the Chief Constable

The way in which complaints about a Chief Constable (or Acting Chief Constable) are dealt with is described in legislation and there are different options for handling the complaint depending on its nature. 

Unless the subject matter of the complaint has been, or is already being, dealt with by means of criminal proceedings, the complaint may be determined either by the Police and Crime Commissioner, or the Independent Office for Police Conduct.   

We hope to be able to resolve your complaint quickly to your satisfaction. Complaints handled in this way are likely to be ones where you want an explanation, or for your concerns to be listened to, passed on, and addressed and you agree that these steps are sufficient to remedy the matter to your satisfaction. Complaints that require further investigation are likely to qualify for handling under legislation concerning police complaints and police misconduct (the Police Reform Act 2002, Schedule 3). 

Such complaints will be ‘recorded’, and we are required to notify you when we do this. Recording a complaint means that it has formal status under the Police Reform Act 2002. Recorded complaints will either be handled by us, or by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, depending on the matter under complaint. The way in which the complaint is handled must be reasonable and proportionate to the matter in question.   

Depending on the circumstances, this may mean:

  • an investigation of the matter
  • seeking to resolving your concerns in another way
  • on occasion, informing you that no further action will be taken.

It must then be dealt with according to formal rules and guidance. If we do not record your complaint, and you are dissatisfied with our decision, you can appeal to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

We are required to refer all qualifying complaints about the Chief Constable to the Independent Office for Police Conduct who will decide whether the matter should be investigated. We will notify you when we make such a referral.

A complaint that will be referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct is likely to be one that:

Where the conduct alleged, if it were proved

  1. could justify the bringing of criminal or disciplinary proceedings.
  2. involved the infringement of a person’s Human Rights
or alleges
  1. serious assault, or sexual offence
  2. serious corruption
  3. discriminatory behaviour on the grounds of a person’s status under the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights legislation
  1. the matter complained about resulted in death or serious injury.
  2. the gravity of the subject matter is considered to warrant referral.

If we are not the appropriate body to deal with your complaint, we are required to send it to the appropriate body and we are not required to seek your consent to do this. We will inform you that we have done this, the content of what has been sent and the name of the body it has been sent to. For example, this will be the case where a complaint names the Chief Constable but the complaint is about something where the Chief Constable has delegated the responsiblity to another officer or staff member within the police force. In this example we will send the complaint to the police force to handle.

You can make a complaint about the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police by:

  • Completing and returning the complaint form (by email or post)
  • Completing the feedback form at the bottom of this page
  • Writing to the Police and Crime Commissioner, Andy Hocking House, Alderson Drive, Exeter, EX2 7RP
  • Emailing
  • Phoning 01392 225555

Further information about the complaint handling process and customer service standards can be found here.