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Complaints Against Police

The Police Ombudsman's Office provides an independent and impartial service for dealing with complaints against the police.

The Police Ombudsman's Office looks at evidence to decide whether police officers have acted properly or not. They also investigate complaints against some, but not all, civilian employees of the police. This includes employees performing custody or escort duties for the police.

Their decisions are made entirely independently of the police, government and complainants.

You do not have to pay to complain to them.

The Police Ombudsman deals with complaints against:

  • The Police Service of Northern Ireland (police officers and designated civilians)
  • National Crime Agency officers in Northern Ireland
  • The Belfast Harbour Police
  • The Belfast International Airport Police
  • The Ministry of Defence police in Northern Ireland
  • Immigration officers and some customs officials in Northern Ireland ("serious cases" only)

How to make a complaint against police

You can make a complaint:

Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland
New Cathedral Buildings
Writers’ Square
11 Church Street

Please try to give the Police Ombudsman's Office as much information as you can about the incident you are complaining about, including such things as:

  • the day, time, date and exact location of the incident
  • the name, shoulder number and a physical description of the officer(s) or employee involved
  • the name, address and telephone number(s) of any witnesses
  • the registration numbers of any vehicles involved in the incident
  • any other helpful or relevant evidence, such as photographs or audio or video footage
  • You must make your complaint within one year of the incident you are concerned about.

In special circumstances, the Police Ombudsman can decide to investigate a complaint about something that happened more than a year before it was reported to them. This happens when the Police Ombudsman believes the complaint to be grave or exceptional.