Make a complaint
What can I complain about?
Police officers and members of police staff are expected to meet
the following standards:
- Act with honesty and integrity, fairness and impartiality
- Treat you and their colleagues with respect
- Not abuse their powers and authority
- Act in a way that does not discredit or undermine your
confidence in our service.
If you feel that someone who works for Sussex Police has not met
these standards then you can make a complaint.
Who can make a complaint?
You can make a complaint if you are a member of the public
- Has been the victim of the misconduct by a person serving with
the police. Misconduct could include a police officer or member of
police staff being rude to you or using excessive force. It could
also include unlawful arrest or an abuse of your rights.
- Was present when the alleged misconduct took place, or close
enough to see or hear the misconduct, and as a result suffered
loss, damage, distress or inconvenience, or was put in danger or at
- Is a friend or relative of the victim of the alleged
misconduct, distressed by the effects of the incident on the
- Has witnessed the alleged misconduct.
- Is acting on behalf of any of the above. Please note that if
you would like someone to make a complaint on your behalf, you must
give them your consent in writing unless they are from a body such
as a Citizens Advice Bureau.
How do I make a complaint?
You can make a complaint directly to Sussex Police or another
advice organisation. Whatever the route, all complaints, by law,
must be recorded by the police force itself. Complaints can
be made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission however
these will be directed straight to Sussex Police.
If you want to make a complaint you can:
- Go into any police station and ask for your complaint to be
recorded. A police officer or member of police staff will speak to
you about your complaint and explain your options.
- Contact Sussex Police via phone on 101. People with hearing or
speech difficulties can use a text phone on our Minicom number
- Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
to make a complaint about the misconduct by a person serving with
- If however, you wish to contact Sussex Police about any other,
NON-EMERGENCY issue then please contact us online
- Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, Racial Equality
Council, Neighbourhood Warden, Youth Offending Team or Probation
Service, all of whom can provide information.
- Contact a solicitor or your MP and ask them to make a complaint
- Nominate a person to act on your behalf (they must have your
- Write to the Chief Constable or Commissioner of Sussex
The Chief Constable
John Street Police Station
- John Street
- BN2 0LA
- What should my complaint say?
As well as your name, address and contact details, the main
things that your complaint should cover are:
- What happened.
- When it happened.
- What officers or staff members were involved.
- What was said or done.
- Whether there were any witnesses other than yourself and the
person serving with the police.
- Where the witnesses can be contacted, if known.
- Details of any damage or injury which took place.
How will my complaint be dealt with?
Your initial complaint will be recorded by the Professional
Standards Department (PSD) of Sussex Police. Once this has been
noted as being about the conduct of the police officer or member of
police staff, then it will be dealt with in one of the following
This process is fully supported by the Independent Police
Complaints Commission and means that a local supervisor will be
able to resolve your complaint directly with you and take any
appropriate action to put things right. This should encompass your
expectations and what proportionate action can or cannot be taken
to resolve your complaint.
It will not result in formal proceedings being taken against a
police officer or police staff member, but is designed to solve,
explain and settle your complaint direct.
Where there is potential that your complaint will result in
misconduct/criminal proceedings against the officers involved, an
investigation will be carried out by the Professional Standards
Right of Appeal
If you're unhappy with the way that we have dealt with your
complaint then you will have a right of appeal as follows:
- Your complaint has not been recorded - this appeal will be to
the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
- You are unhappy with the outcome of the local resolution - this
appeal will be to the Professional Standards Department at Sussex
Police. Please click here to submit your appeal online.
- You are unhappy with the police formal investigation
into your complaint - this appeal will be to the Independent Police
The Independent Police Complaints Commission
has overall responsibility for the system for complaints against
the police. For further information, visit the Commission's website.