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FAQ about making a complaint

We strive to provide a professional service to our community. However, we do recognise on occasions that our community may wish to raise issues where they feel the service has not met their expectations.

We are committed to addressing all complaints, ensuring that you receive a reasonable and proportionate response from us in a reasonable timeframe.

What can I complain about?

You can complain about the behaviour or action by the police that has directly affected you, adversely affected you or that you have witnessed. If you wish to make a complaint on behalf of someone else who falls into one of the above categories, you will require written permission from the person affected. Solicitors must also gain written permission if they are acting on a person’s behalf.

Those working within the police service should behave appropriately at all times and are expected to conduct themselves in the manner set out in the Code of Ethics from the College of Policing.

Their expectations include the requirement to:

  • Act with honestly, integrity, fairness and impartiality
  • Treat members of the public and colleagues with respect
  • Not abuse their power and authority
  • Act in a manner that does not discredit or undermine public confidence in the Police Service.

If you feel that someone working for the Police has not met these standards you can make a complaint.

How can I make a complaint?

  • By completing our online complaints form
  • By calling 101
  • Emailing our customer service team
  • In writing to Cambridgeshire Police Headquarters, Hinchingbrooke Park, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 6NP
  • Or direct in person at one of the following police stations:

Thorpe Wood

  • Thorpe Road, Longthorpe, PE3 6SD


  • Parkside, Cambridge, CB1 1JG


  • Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4PL


  • Burrowmoon Road, March, PE15 9RB


To help us resolve your complaint as quickly as possible it would be helpful if you could include the following points in your correspondence.

  • What happened?
  • When it happened?
  • Who was involved?
  • What was said or done?
  • Were there any witnesses?
  • Was there any damage or injury caused?
  • Any reference numbers that you have been given?

How will my complaint be dealt with? 

Our Incident Review Team will discuss your complaint with you and try and resolve it there and then. If they are unable to they will provide you with a reference number and advise you of the next steps and agree a course of action. This could include:

  • The complaint being passed to a local manager who has the responsibility for the area or Staff Member/Police Officer being complained about
  • In certain cases It may be investigated by our Professional Standards Department (PSD)

The role of the Incident Review Team (IRT)

The role of the Incident Review Team is to initially handle and log your complaint. The team will advise you at the earliest opportunity about what action is going to be taken.

If they are able to resolve your complaint there and then they will, if they can’t, they will advise you of the next steps.

The team will provide you with the relevant reference numbers and who will be responsible for progressing your complaint.


The role of the Professional Standards Department (PSD)

The Professional Standards Department (PSD) investigate the more serious allegations of misconduct and gross misconduct involving Police Officers, Staff and Special Constables. PSD provide the link between the Police and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and ensure that any serious matters are referred to the IOPC. 


What is the role of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)?

Complaints about 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.

The IOPC independently investigates the most serious and sensitive incidents and allegations involving the Police in England and Wales. These complaints are mostly referred to them by Police forces themselves. They will only undertake independent investigations in the most serious circumstances which include death or serious injury or a breach of article 2 or 3 of the ECHR. In these circumstances the IOPC would appoint their own investigator. Alternatively, they can direct a Police investigation into how the matter is conducted and oversee the investigation.


What is the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner?

The Police and Crime Commissioner has responsibility for delivering an efficient and effective Police Service in their area. The Commissioner’s role is to support and, when necessary, challenge the Chief Constable. With respect to complaints, the Police and Crime Commissioner is required to oversee all complaints made against officers and staff. They also have responsibility for complaints against the Chief Constable.


Requesting a complaint review

Following the conclusion of your complaint whether handled locally or by means of an investigation if you are not happy with the way your complaint has been handled, you are given the right to request a complaint review.

The review will be dealt with by either the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). You will be advised of the relevant review body at the conclusion of the complaint in writing.  The timeframe for requesting a review is 28 days from the date of the letter concluding your complaint.

Please check your complaint outcome letter which will have been sent to you to confirm who you should make a review request to.


The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)

If you wish to make a complaint through the IOPC ,we must inform you that their on-line form is not reviewed by the IOPC and is automatically forwarded directly to the force involved to review and make contact with you.


Organisations that may be able to assist you

If you need any assistance with making a complaint then the below organisations may be able to assist you. If they can’t please get in touch and we will try and assist in providing the appropriate support.

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