Complaint Handling Review outcomes

At the end of the Complaint Handling Review we will send you a report.

Our report

The report sets out our views on how the policing body handled your complaint. It will be anonymised in order to protect the individuals involved, including you. 

We may consider that:

  • Your complaint was handled reasonably.
  • Your complaint was not handled reasonably.
  • Recommendations could be made to the policing body.
  • A reconsideration direction should be made to the policing body.
  • A learning point should be issued to the policing body.


  • All recommendations should be implemented by the policing body within two months of the date of our report.
  • We will liaise with the policing body on the implementation of any recommendations.
  • The policing body should provide you with any final updates on progress.
  • You will receive a letter from the policing body to let you know when any accepted recommendations have been carried out.

How was the complaint handled?

My complaint was handled reasonably

  • This means that we have concluded that the policing body dealt with your complaint to a reasonable standard and in line with its complaint handling procedures.
  • In some cases, we may still identify learning and issue either a recommendation or a learning point to the police.

My complaint was not handled reasonably

  • This means that we have decided that the policing body has not dealt with your complaint to a reasonable standard.
  • A recommendation, a reconsideration direction or a learning point may be made to the policing body concerned to address any failing identified.

What does this mean?

If we identify failings, shortcomings or deficiencies in the way the policing body has handled your complaint, we may issue a recommendation.

A recommendation may ask the policing body to carry out further enquiries into your complaint. We may also ask them to provide you with a more detailed response or even re-assess the available evidence based on the findings of our report.

In some cases, we may issue a reconsideration direction. This means that we have concluded that your complaint must be looked at again.

In these circumstances, we would direct that someone who has had no previous involvement with your complaint is appointed by the policing body to carry out the reconsideration.

The reconsideration may be supervised by us depending on the seriousness of the case and any public interest considerations.

In all cases, we look for learning opportunities for the police so that their standard of complaint handling or the service they deliver to the general public can be improved in the future. 

For example, we may point to aspects of the complaint handling that we believe could have been improved, without going so far as making a recommendation.

We will also highlight any opportunities for organisational learning that we identify during the review, such as improving or reviewing police standard operating procedures or policies.

Published reports

We publish as much information as we can about the work that we do.

This means, some of our Complaint Handling Review reports are made available on our website .

Our final letter will tell you if we plan to publish a summarised version online.

Published reports

Unhappy with our decision?

At the end of a Complaint Handing Review, we may find that the policing body did handle your complaint to a reasonable standard. 

  • Therefore, the Commissioner’s decisions, findings and conclusions are final and there is no statutory review or appeal available.
  • However, if you remain unhappy with our decision you can consult your local Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor about any further action which may be available.

Unhappy with PIRC's service in general?

You can make a complaint about an action or administrative failing by our staff. 

For example, unreasonable delays or if we do not explain things to you properly. 

If this is the case, please submit your complaint to us directly. This may lead to an internal investigation. 

Complaints about PIRC

Please do not include any personal information, for example information about a complaint or investigation you are involved in. If you would like to share any important information with us, please visit our Contact us page to find out how to get in touch.