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Complaints Process

This page contains information on the process for complaints that relate to Surrey Police or our office, and the role of the Commissioner’s Office in monitoring, handling and reviewing complaints about policing.

Our office has a duty in relation to the handling of complaints, that are categorised under three different models. We operate Model One, meaning your Commissioner:

  • As part of the wider scrutiny of Surrey Police performance, monitors complaints being received about the police force and how they are dealt with including outcomes and timelines;
  • Employs a Complaint Review Manager who can provide an independent review of the outcome of a complaint processed by Surrey Police, when requested by the complainant within 28 days.

As a result of the Commissioner’s Office’s role in reviewing complaint outcomes provided by Surrey Police, your Commissioner is not normally involved in the recording or investigating of new complaints against the Force as these as any such complaints are managed by the Professional Standards Department (PSD) of Surrey Police.

Self-assessment

The effective management of complaints by Surrey Police is vital to improving policing services in Surrey.

Under the Specified Information (Amendment) Order 2021 we are required to publish a self-assessment of our performance in overseeing the management of complaints by Surrey Police. 

Read our Self-Assessment here.

Making a complaint about policing in Surrey

Surrey Police officers and staff aim to provide a high standard of service to the communities of Surrey, and welcome feedback from the public to help shape their service. However, we know there may be occasions when you feel dissatisfied with the service you have received and wish to make a complaint.

Leave feedback or make a formal complaint about Surrey Police.

Surrey Police Professional Standards Department (PSD) receive all reports of complaint and dissatisfaction about police officers, police staff or Surrey Police generally and will provide a written response to your concerns. You can also contact them by calling 101.

Complaints can also be made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), however these will automatically be passed to Surrey Police or the Police and Crime Commissioner (in the case of a complaint against the Chief Constable) for the initial stages of the process to be completed, unless there are exceptional circumstances that justify not passing it on.

The Police and Crime Commissioner is not involved in this first stage of complaints. You can see more information lower down this page about requesting an independent review of your complaint outcome from our office, that can be carried out once you receive a response from Surrey Police.

The role of the Police and Crime Commissioner

The Police and Crime Commissioner has statutory responsibility for:

  • the local oversight of complaint handling by Surrey Police;
  • acting as an independent Review Body for some complaints that have been made through the formal complaints system of Surrey Police;
  • dealing with complaints made against the Chief Constable, a role known as the Appropriate Authority

Your Commissioner also monitors correspondence received by our office to support them in improving the service you receive and complaints that are received by our office, Surrey Police and the IOPC. More information can be found on our Complaints Data page.

Complaints received by the Police and Crime Commissioner about the service provided by Surrey Police will normally be responded with a request for permission to forward them to Force to respond in more detail. The Police and Crime Commissioner can only review cases that have been through the police complaints system first.

Misconduct Hearings

A Misconduct Hearing takes place when an investigation is carried out into any officer following an allegation of behaviour that falls below the standard expected of Surrey Police. 

Misconduct and Gross Misconduct Hearings are held in public, unless a specific exception is made by a the Chair of the hearing.

Legally Qualified Chairs and Independent Panel Members are legally qualified individuals independent of Surrey Police, who are selected by the Commissioner’s Office to ensure that misconduct hearings are fair and transparent. 

Read how we select, recruit and manage Legally Qualified Chairs.

Police Appeal Tribunals

Police Appeals Tribunals (PATs) hear appeals against the findings of gross misconduct brought by police officers or special constables.

Learn more on our page about Police Appeal Tribunals.

Your right to a review of the outcome of your complaint to Surrey Police

If you have already submitted a complaint to Surrey Police’s complaints system and remain dissatisfied after you have received a formal outcome of your complaint from the Force, you can make a request to your Commissioner’s Office to review it.  This is then handled by our Complaint Review Manager, who is employed by the Office to independently review the outcome of your complaint.

Learn more about the review process or use our contact page to request a Complaint Review now.

Our Complaints Review Manager will then consider whether the outcome of your complaint was reasonable and proportionate and identify any learning or recommendations that are relevant for Surrey Police.

Making a complaint against the Chief Constable

The Police and Crime Commissioner is responsible for dealing with complaints directly relating to the actions, decisions or conduct of the Chief Constable. Complaints against the Chief Constable should relate to the Chief Constables direct or personal involvement in a matter.

To make a complaint against the Chief Constable, please use our Contact Us page or call us on 01483 630200. You can also write to us using the address above.

Making a complaint against the Police and Crime Commissioner or member of staff

Complaints against the Police and Crime Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are received by our Chief Executive and forwarded to the Surrey Police and Crime Panel for informal resolution.

To make a complaint against the Commissioner or a member of the Commissioner’s staff, use our Contact Us page or call us on 01483 630200. You can also write to us using the address above. If a complaint relates to a member of staff, it will initially be handled by that staff member’s line manager.

Complaints we’ve received

We monitor correspondence received by our office to support the Commissioner in improving the service you receive. 

In 2021/22, we received 2,962 messages about policing in Surrey, including:

  • 815 complaints or messages that expressed dissatisfaction with Surrey Police
  • 133 requests for Independent Complaint Reviews; 109 of these requests were valid and responded to by the Independent Complaint Review Manager
  • 52 complaints against the Police and Crime Commissioner have been referred to the Surrey Police and Crime Panel. Individual complaints received from 37 people were collated as one complaint for procedural reasons. You can see the outcome of all complaints on our Complaints Data page.

Your Commissioner also publishes information on complaints processed by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Accessibility

If you require any adjustments to support you to make a review application or a complaint, please let us know by using our Contact Us page or by calling us on 01483 630200. You can also write to us using the address above.

See our Accessibility Statement for more information about the steps we’ve taken to make our information and processes accessible.

Complaints Policy and procedures

View our complaints policies below:

Complaints Policy

The document explains our policy in relation to the handling of complaints.

Complaints Procedure

The complaints procedure sets out how to contact us and how we will address your concerns or direct your enquiry for the most relevant response.

Persistent Complainants Policy

This document sets out our policy in relation to unreasonably persistent complainants.

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