If you haven’t already made your complaint to the police body concerned, you will need to do so before contacting the PIRC.
You should first make your complaint to the Professional Standards Department of the policing body concerned and allow them to deal with your complaint before you contact us. Click here for contact details of the police bodies that operate in Scotland.
Once you have received the final response to your complaint from the policing body, if you are dissatisfied with the way your complaint has been handled, you can then ask us to undertake a Complaint Handling Review (CHR).
If you wish to request a CHR, you should complete and submit an application form. You can do this online here or you can download/request a copy which you can post back to us.
You should specifically identify on the application form which of the complaints you made to the policing body that you would like us to review.
By signing the application form or clicking the digital signature box, you agree that we can ask the policing body to provide us with any information it has about your complaint(s).
If we need further information to help us consider your application we will let you know what else we need you to submit.
Once we have considered the information in your application form and decided that it may be eligible for review, we will ask the policing body to send us all the available information about your case. When this information has been provided, we will then let you know whether we are able to review your complaint.
If you have made a complaint about an individual police officer or civilian staff member from any of the policing bodies operating in Scotland and you are dissatisfied with how they dealt with your complaint, we can review how your complaint was handled. We cannot review the original complaint itself.
You can apply for a CHR if you are:
The PIRC can review how the following Scottish policing bodies handled your complaint :
In addition, the PIRC can review how the following UK-wide policing bodies handled your complaint, if they were operating in Scotland at the relevant time:
If we receive your request for a review after three months have passed, we may be unable to consider your case.
We do not have the power to review how complaints were handled by the policing body if the complaints allege criminality. These complaints are considered by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.
We also cannot review complaints from individuals serving with the police about their terms and conditions of employment.
Although we can review how your complaint has been handled, we do not carry out further investigation into your original complaint. Find out more about our review process and possible outcomes of a review here.
If your complaint is about something that we cannot review, we will try to point you to another organisation that may be able to help you. View our list of useful contacts and websites.
For further information on the remit and powers of the PIRC in relation to reviews, please see the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006, as amended by the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012.
The Commissioner, who is appointed by Scottish Ministers, is independent of the police and delivers a free and impartial service. The Commissioner is not and has never been associated with any UK policing body.
The role of the PIRC is to provide independent oversight, investigating incidents involving the police and reviewing the way the police handle complaints from the public.
Our aim is to secure public confidence in policing in Scotland.
Yes. If you want us to undertake a Complaint Handling Review (CHR) you must submit a completed review application form to us within three months of the date on which the police contacted you with the final outcome of your complaint. If we receive your request for a review after three months have passed, we may be unable to consider your case unless we are satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances for the delay.
After reviewing how your complaint was handled by the policing body we may consider that:
For more information see Possible Outcomes of a review.