Police complaints statistics
Police force professional standards departments deal with the majority of complaints about the police. However, we investigate the most serious complaints and incidents and set the standards by which the police should handle complaints.
We collect information from all police forces in England and Wales about the types of complaints they are receiving and how long they take to deal with them.
Collecting this data is important. It develops our understanding of how different forces and local policing bodies are running the local police complaints system. It also allows us to identify good practice, trends and differences that we need to look into.
Each year, we publish statistics about the complaints that forces have logged. We also produce quarterly bulletins for all police forces.
Key findings for 2021/22
It is important to remain cautious when comparing the figures from this year to previous years, as the statistics are experimental, meaning they are still in the testing phase and not yet fully developed. Notwithstanding that, there are notable increases in complaints from last year that indicate members of the public are increasingly willing to raise their concerns.
- The total volume of complaints rose by 11%. An increase that is likely linked to the simplifying of the system and the widening in definition of a complaint to “any expression of dissatisfaction”.
- The most commonly recorded complaint type related to delivery of duties and service. These often relate to service delivery complaints such as a lack of updates or delays in responses, rather than concerns around police misconduct.
- Meanwhile, the rise in the number of complaints resolved informally indicates more complaints are being sorted quickly, as the new system intended, with fewer complaints resulting in lengthy investigations. This is to be welcomed. In many cases these are being replaced with responses that are more proportionate with appropriate explanations and apologies. In fact, the number of cases where an explanation or apology was given to resolve a complaint doubled.
If you can't find the data you are looking for on this page, our previous complaints statistics are available on our National Archives site. If you have any queries about our police complaints statistics, contact our performance team.