FAQs - Complaints

Recording a complaint means that it has formal status under the Police Reform Act 2002. It must then be dealt with according to formal rules and guidance. If your complaint is not recorded you can appeal to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The Dyfed Powys Police Professional Standards Department (PSD) will consider your complaint and make the decision in respect of recording the complaint and informing you how Dyfed Powys Police intends to deal with matters you raise.

If your complaint is recorded, a decision will be made about how best to resolve it. The severity of a complaint will determine how it is resolved. Complaints are usually resolved by local resolution or local investigation. In certain circumstances, complaints must be referred to the IOPC and they may oversee a police investigation (this is called a supervised or managed investigation). In the most serious cases, the IOPC may investigate the complaint using their own investigators.

There is no limit on the length of an investigation or local resolution – however, both should be proportionate to the nature of the complaint. Once a complaint is assigned to someone, they should tell you how long the investigation or local resolution is likely to take. Unless alternative arrangements have been made you should be provided with an update on the progress of your complaint at least once every 28 days.

There is no time limit on making a complaint, but it is best to do it as quickly as possible after the incident/s occurred. If more than 12 months have passed between the incident (or latest incident) and the date when the complaint is made, then we may not investigate it and could decide to dissaply the complaint because it is out of time. If you are making a complaint more than 12 months after the incident you should explain the reason for the delay in your complaint. However, explaining your reasons does not guarantee that the complaint will be investigated.

The IOPC is not involved in police force investigations into complaints. This means that they cannot intervene in the progress of an investigation or instruct a police force to change the person in charge of investigating your complaint. If you have any requests, comments or criticisms about an ongoing police investigation, contact either the investigator looking into your complaint or someone else in Dyfed Powys Police. At the end of the investigation you will be told about your right of appeal and who to appeal to.

If court proceedings associated with your complaint are pending, it is possible that we may choose to suspend an investigation into your complaint until after the court proceedings are complete. This is sometimes called subjudice (which means that a matter is ‘before the court’).

Complaint investigations are sometimes suspended in order not to prejudice a future criminal trial or, in the case of a jury trial, not to influence the jury. If you are the person who will be subject to the court proceedings you may be able to waive your right to have the investigation into your complaint suspended. You should consider taking legal advice before doing this. In some circumstances, after consulting with the Crown Prosecution Service, the police force may still decide to suspend the investigation into your complaint even though you don’t want them to. If the investigation into your complaint is suspended, you should contact the police force concerned to restart your complaint after court proceedings are complete.

The police complaints system allows police forces to either stop the complaint process before an investigation begins – disapplication – or stop an ongoing investigation into a complaint – discontinuance. If the police force or local policing body intends to disapply or discontinue the investigation into your complaint they will tell you this, and let you know about your right of appeal against this decision. One example of a situation where a police force might apply for a disapplication is if a complaint was made more than 12 months after the incident being complained about and there is no good reason for the delay. An example of a situation where a police force might apply for discontinuance is where the complainant stops co-operating with the investigators' enquiries, preventing a meaningful investigation.

If you are dissatisfied with a criminal investigation that the police are currently carrying out or have finished carrying out, then we can consider a complaint about the conduct of any police officer or member of police staff involved. However, this would not necessarily lead to a review of the criminal investigation itself. 3 If you are unhappy with the outcome at the conclusion of an investigation you may be eligible to apply for a review through the Victim’s Right to Review.

You can complain to us if you are unhappy with the conduct of an officer or member of police staff or if you feel you were treated badly or unfairly by the police. However, this does not mean the fixed penalty is cancelled.

The Police Complaints Procedure does not cover claims for compensation from the police. If you want to pursue any financial claims against the police, you should contact the Dyfed Powys Police Legal Department via 101.

If a complaint is upheld, it means that the service the police provided did not reach the standard a reasonable person could expect. If a complaint is not upheld, it means that the service the police provided was of a standard that a reasonable person could expect. The standards of police service that are considered when dealing with complaints include: the Standards of Professional Behaviour (or equivalent for police staff) any agreed service standards any national guidance that applies.

No. We can recommend that an apology is offered, but we cannot direct a police officer to do this.

Management action

This is where a manager deals with the way someone has behaved through non-disciplinary action and can include:

  • Showing the police officer or member of staff how their behaviour fell short of expectations set out in the Standards of Professional Behaviour. 
  • Identifying expectations for future conduct, creating an improvement plan addressing any underlying causes of misconduct.

Misconduct meeting

This takes place when there is a case to answer for a misconduct matter and where the maximum disciplinary outcome would be a final written warning.

The available outcomes of a misconduct meeting are:

  • No action.
  • Management advice – specific advice given by a supervisory officer or senior officer written warning added to the officer’s personal file. If the officer is found to have 4 committed any misconduct in the following 12 months, it is likely to lead to (at least) a final written warning.
  • Final written warning added to the officer’s personal file. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, any further misconduct in the following 18 months (that justifies more than management advice) will result in dismissal.

Misconduct Hearing

This takes place when there is a case to answer for a gross misconduct matter and where the maximum disciplinary outcome would be dismissal without notice. The available outcomes of a misconduct hearing include the following options, as well as the options listed above for a misconduct meeting: 

Dismissal with notice – this means that the notice period is decided by the people who conduct the meeting (it must be a minimum of 28 days). 

Dismissal without notice – this means that the police officer is dismissed immediately with no notice period.

Unsatisfactory Performance Procedure (UPP)

Unsatisfactory performance or attendance is different to misconduct and gross misconduct.

Misconduct and gross misconduct involve a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour, whereas unsatisfactory performance involves the officer’s inability or failure to perform their role to a satisfactory level. Their performance may be unsatisfactory, but it may not breach the Standards of Professional Behaviour.

If UPP is recommended or directed, the letter you receive telling you about the appeal decision will explain more about this.

Learning

The outcomes of an investigation could also include non-disciplinary action – for example, learning outcomes/recommendations about force practices or policies.

FAQs - Appeals

An appeal is a final opportunity to ask Dyfed Powys Police or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to consider whether your complaint was adequately investigated and, if not, what needs to be done to address any outstanding matters.

An appropriate authority is the authority responsible for considering complaints and it will tell you which organisation will deal with your appeal.

The appropriate authority is either:

The chief officer of the police force or the police and crime commissioner responsible for the police force you complained about (if your complaint is about the chief officer or acting chief officer of the police force).

A relevant appeal body is the organisation that will deal with your appeal. This is either the chief officer of the police force or the IOPC.

In order to decide who the relevant appeal body is, the complaint is tested against a list of circumstances. These circumstances are listed in the question below ('When isi the IOPC the 'relevant appeal body?'.

When you are told about the outcome of your complaint, the letter will explain whether you can appeal and, if so, to whom you can appeal.

In Dyfed-Powys Police, the chief officer has delegated the authority for considering appeals to the Head of the Professional Standards Department (PSD).

The IOPC is the relevant appeal body in the following circumstances:

For matters about the non-recording of a complaint. 

For a complaint about the conduct of a senior police officer, which is someone who is above the rank of chief superintendent.

When the appropriate authority cannot decide from the complaint alone that the conduct complained about (if proved) - would not justify criminal or misconduct proceedings - involves the infringement of Article 2 (right to life) - involves the infringement of Article 3 (prohibits torture, and inhumane or degrading treatment) of the Human Rights Act.

If the complaint has been, or must be, referred to the IOPC according to the mandatory referral criteria.

If the complaint arises from the same incident as a complaint that satisfies any of the points above.

The police force is the relevant appeal body for any complaints that don’t match the list of circumstances above.

  • You can appeal against the police investigation into your complaint.
  • You can appeal if a complaint was not recorded.
  • You can appeal against the decision to disapply your complaint. (Disapply means to stop the complaints process before an investigation begins.)
  • You can appeal against the outcome of the local resolution. You can appeal against the outcome of a complaint after the decision to disapply.
  • You can appeal against the decision to discontinue an investigation.

There is no right of appeal if:

  • If the matter is about a direction and control issue (This is how a police force is run, for example, something that is linked to policing standards or policing policy.)
  • If the chief officer is the relevant appeal body against a decision by the appropriate authority to disapply or discontinue the complaint investigation, where the IOPC has given permission on independent IOPC investigations.

No. Your complaint will not be reinvestigated, but an appeal will review how the investigation was carried out. What this involves will depend on the type of appeal you have submitted.

Your appeal will be assessed using all the available papers and supporting evidence that you have supplied and available to the Head of PSD. The Head of PSD will make their decision based on a range of factors, depending on the appeal type. Once they have made their appeal decision of either ‘upheld’ or ‘not upheld’, they will write to you and 6 explain the reasons for the decision. An appeal may be upheld, if the findings show that the service provided by the police did not reach the standard a reasonable person could expect.

If an appeal is not upheld, it may mean that the service the police provided was of a standard that a reasonable person could expect. The police may not be required to take any further action on your complaint.

The time when you make your appeal is your opportunity to provide all the information for consideration. This is because you cannot provide extra information for consideration after a decision is made. You have 29 days, starting from the date of your letter from the appropriate authority to submit the appeal form and a copy of the decision letter. This includes the time your appeal spends in the post. If your appeal is not received within 29 days, it does not have to be considered. It may be possible to accept your appeal outside the appeal period, if you have very special circumstances and you can fully explain the reasons for the delayed submission.

The outcome of your appeal can either be ‘upheld’ or ‘not upheld’.

An appeal may be upheld if the findings show that the service provided by the police did not reach the standard a reasonable person could expect.

If an appeal is not upheld, it may mean that the service the police provided was of a standard that a reasonable person could expect. If so, the police may not be required to take any further action on your complaint.

If your appeal is upheld, the Head of PSD may direct that certain actions are taken.

These could include: 

  • A reinvestigation into your complaint.
  • That the findings of an investigation be reconsidered  identifying organisational learning.

Actions are not necessarily taken on every upheld case and the Head of PSD will look at appeals on a case-by-case basis.

No, you cannot provide extra information following the decision. The time when you made your appeal was your opportunity to provide all the necessary information for consideration.

Once you have received the outcome of your appeal there is no further recourse. Appeal decisions are final. This means that any decisions made by the Relevant Appeal Body can only be overturned by the courts through the judicial review process. You should seek independent legal advice if you intend to pursue this course of action.