What we do

Our aim is to ensure that everyone has confidence and trust in the police complaints system.

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We oversee the police complaints system in England and Wales and set and monitor the standards by which the police should handle complaints. We investigate the most serious matters, including allegations of serious corruption, and cases where someone has died or been seriously injured following contact with the police. We also consider certain types of reviews from people who are dissatisfied with the way their complaint has been dealt with by a police force.

We play a vital role in improving police practice by ensuring the police are accountable for their actions and lessons are learnt. Working with our partners, service users and communities, we use evidence from our work to influence and drive changes in policing, particularly on issues that we know are affecting community and public confidence. One example of this is our focus on race discrimination in policing and on the police response to violence against women and girls. 

As part of our wider oversight work, we provide guidance to help the police handle complaints at a local level. We also monitor the performance of police force professional standards departments and we hold them to account for their performance in complaint handling. 

Along with His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services and the College of Policing, we assess and respond to super-complaints. Super-complaints are made by a range of organisations about broad or systemic issues that could affect public confidence in policing. 

We also have powers in relation to a number of other organisations that are not police forces but have police-like powers, and we investigate criminal allegations against police and crime commissioners and their deputies.

Our mission is to improve policing by independent oversight of police complaints, holding police to account and ensuring learning effects change.  We use learning from our work to influence changes in policing, so that everyone is able to have trust and confidence in the police. We make our decisions completely independent of and separate from the police and the Government.

Our values reflect how we work together to deliver our mission

Building trust and confidence in policing

Watch our video for some key statistics and information from the report, and download a copy to read the real-life stories.
Impact report 2022/23 video


Find out everything you need to know about the police complaints process.


We independently investigate the most serious complaints and conduct issues for all police forces across England and Wales. 

Key areas of work

Our work cuts across a number of key areas and themes. We use learning from our work to promote high standards of professionalism and accountability in policing.