Here you can find out more about what to do if you have a complaint about a police body and more details about our role in reviewing complaints.
If you would like the PIRC to review how the police handled your complaint, you should submit a completed review application form within three months of the date on which the police contacted you with the final outcome of your complaint.
If we decide to carry out a CHR, we will write to you asking you to confirm which of the complaints you made to the police body that you would like us to review.
During the CHR, we will consider the facts of your case and review all the information provided by you and the police body. We will consider whether the police body carried out sufficient enquiries into your complaint, look at how it reached its conclusion, examine the evidence on which the conclusion was based and decide whether or not the complaint was dealt with to a reasonable standard.
We will keep you regularly updated on our progress during your review and will be in contact at least once every six weeks. Download our Standards of Service.
At the end of our review process, we will send you a copy of our report, which will outline:
Complaint Handling Reviews are often published on this website. View our published complaint handling reviews.
In order for us to carry out a Complaint Handling Review, we need you to provide us with your original complaint and the reason(s) why you are unhappy with the final response from the police body. Try to be as specific as possible.
We do not need you to explain the background to your complaint in your application.
No. We cannot review how your complaint was handled by a police body without your personal details. We need to have information about you and your complaint(s) as well as your authorisation to speak to the police body concerned about your complaint(s). You should also be aware that we publish most of our Complaint Handling Review reports on our website. These reports are anonymised.
The PIRC will request the case papers relating to your complaint from the police body involved. We examine the facts of the case and will consider whether or not the information available supports your complaint. We will also look at the police body's response to you and consider whether this addresses your complaint. The PIRC will then form a view on whether the complaint was dealt with to a reasonable standard.
The outcome of your Complaint Handling Review will be explained in a report which will be sent to both you and the police body. Any police officer or member of civilian staff involved in the complaint will be informed of the outcome of the PIRC review.
Probably not. The Commissioner is only personally involved in reviews that are considered to raise the most serious issues. For cases that are not considered to fall into this category, we operate a scheme of delegation whereby cases are delegated to senior staff.
We aim to undertake the review process as quickly as possible. However, as each case is different the time taken to review it will vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the complaint or the volume of information we receive from you and the police body involved.
No. Whilst we publish most of our Complaint Handling Review reports on our website, personal details such as names and addresses are anonymised.
No. The PIRC is impartial and independent. We do not represent you or police bodies. We review how complaints have been handled in an independent, open and fair manner.
No. We are impartial and will not provide legal advice. If we cannot review your complaint then we will try to direct you to an organisation that may be able to help. If you would like to know more about seeking legal advice, you can contact the Scottish Legal Aid Board or the Law Society of Scotland.
No. Our service is free.
No. We cannot ask any police body to award you compensation. Find out more about possible outcomes of your review.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Complaint Handling Review you can consult your local Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor about what further action you can take.