Each year our investigators carry out hundreds of independent investigations into the most serious and sensitive incidents involving the police.

Police forces must refer the most serious incidents to us whether or not someone has made a complaint. For example, if police action results in a member of the public being seriously injured or dying:

  • while in custody
  • after they’ve had contact with the police
  • as a result of a police shooting
  • in a road accident involving the police

The police can also refer incidents to us if they have concerns about the conduct of their officers or staff. In 2023/24 we received more than 7,000 referrals from the police, but the majority of referrals are not investigated independently by us.

We can direct forces to record incidents and then ‘call them in’. We can also consider incidents that have not been referred to us by police forces and decide whether and how we will investigate them. 

Guide to our investigations


Find out more about our recent investigations

Our investigations
British Asian woman reading from sheet of paper

Read summaries of our investigations

Investigation summaries

Operation Linden

Read about our series of investigations into how South Yorkshire Police responded to allegations of child sexual abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Key areas of work

Find out more about the areas our investigations cover, including our thematic work.

Contact the media team

If you're a journalist looking for more information about an investigation you can find details of our media team here.