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You can complain about:
- the quality of service you've received from Police Scotland
- the way a police officer or member of Police Scotland staff has acted
How to complain
You can make a complaint by:
You can also make your complaint in writing to:
Professional Standards Department
P.O. Box 2460
When you make your complaint the police will want to know:
- when the incident happened
- where it happened
- what happened
- which officer(s) or member(s) of staff you're complaining about
- if there were any witnesses
- how you want to be contacted
What happens after you make a complaint
If your complaint doesn't include a claim the police broke the law, it may be dealt with locally. A supervisory officer (a sergeant or above) will contact you. They will either:
- try and resolve your complaint when they talk to you
- listen to your complaint, take details and make other enquiries - this may include speaking to the officers and witnesses involved
After your complaint has been investigated, they may decide:
- that no further action is needed
- to make changes so that the same thing doesn't happen again
- to give you an apology
- that those involved need training or advice
- that those involved need to go through disciplinary or criminal procedures
Whatever is the result of your complaint, the police will let you know. For non-criminal cases, they will aim to issue a final letter no later than 56 days after the complaint is first made. Rare cases may take longer, but you will be told if this has to happen.
Criminal cases may take longer. This is because they need to be referred to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), who are independent of the police. COPFS will consider the case and decide whether or not to prosecute.
Complaints about senior officers
If your complaint is about the Chief Constable, a Deputy Chief Constable or an Assistant Chief Constable, contact the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).
If you're unhappy about how your complaint has been handled
Contact the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) if you're not satisfied with the way your complaint was dealt with.
The PIRC is independent of the police.
You must send your application to the PIRC within 3 months of the date on which the police sent you its findings about your complaint.
If your application isn't received within 3 months of that date, the PIRC may be unable to accept your case.
Help with your complaint
Contact Citizens Advice on 0808 800 9060 or visit a bureau for help with complaints about the police.
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