Avon and Somerset Constabulary is committed to providing a high standard of service. However, there may be occasions when you feel dissatisfied with some aspects of the service and wish to make a complaint.
The role of the Professional Standards Department is to investigate complaints and misconduct allegations against Avon and Somerset Police staff thoroughly, efficiently, impartially and to the highest possible standard.
Independent Office for Police Conduct ensure the guardianship of the system for making complaints against the police and may supervise, manage or independently investigate those that raise more serious allegations.
If you think the conduct or behaviour of a police officer, police staff member or special constable was inappropriate or fell below expectation, you can make a complaint.
Complaints made more than 12 months after the alleged incident will still be reviewed but may not be recorded or investigated.
Complaints about staff are dealt with under the Police Reform Act 2002.
The behaviour of police officers, police staff and special constables are set out in the Standards of Professional Behaviour:
The Code of Ethics produced by the College of Policing sets out and defines the exemplary standards of behaviour for everyone who works in policing.
Known as 'organisational' or 'direction and control' complaints, these may include operational policies, corporate strategy, decisions about resources, or general standards.
You can make a complaint if you are:
When making your complaint, please include as much detail as possible about what happened:
Complaints are dealt with by the Professional Standards Department of Avon and Somerset Police. The department is completely separate from the officers or members of staff who are complained about.
Once your complaint is accepted and recorded as being about the conduct of a police officer or member of police staff, and then it will be dealt with in one of three ways:
Avon and Somerset Constabulary are working towards resolving minor complaints as quickly and effectively as possible through ‘Early Intervention’. Where appropriate, when we receive reports of dissatisfaction, we will seek to make early contact with you to discuss your concerns and resolve the issues to your satisfaction. This will avoid the lengthy process of carrying out a formal complaint investigation, in accordance with the requirements of the Police Reform Act 2002. If at the end of the Early Intervention process you are not happy with the outcome we will deal with your concerns as a formal complaint.
Local Resolution is a process of understanding your complaint and resolving it directly with you. It may involve an undertaking to pursue a particular course of action, an apology in appropriate circumstances or an explanation of why events unfolded as they did.
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.
It is important to the Avon and Somerset 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 at the end of the local resolution process you are not happy with the outcome of the local resolution, you have a right of appeal.
The purpose of a local investigation is to establish the details around the complaint and whether it amounts to an allegation of serious misconduct.
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.
The Professional Standards department will provide you with written confirmation acknowledging your complaint, which will include details of who is overseeing the matter and their contact details.
Your complaint will be dealt with as speedily as possible and you will be informed of the progress at least every 28 days.