Search Legislation

Police Reform Act 2002

Paragraph 4: Reference of complaints to the Commission

71.One of the general functions of the Commission is to secure public confidence in the arrangements for handling complaints (and other conduct matters), as set out in section 10. In order to achieve this, there needs to be provision to enable complaints about serious misconduct or which attract high public interest or which involve exceptional circumstances to go to the Commission for determination as to how they should be handled.

72.This paragraph describes which complaints come to the Commission. Complaints will come to the Commission in one of four ways:

  • sub-paragraphs (1)(a) and (1)(b) place a duty on the appropriate authority to refer a complaint because the alleged conduct has resulted in death or serious injury (i.e. as described in section 29(1): fracture, damage to an internal organ, a deep cut or laceration or any injury causing the impairment of any bodily function) or it falls into a category specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State – a list of specified categories will be set in regulations to ensure that all complaints of serious misconduct are brought to the attention of the Commission;

  • sub-paragraph (1)(c) gives a power to the Commission to direct an appropriate authority to refer a complaint to it because it may have particular concerns about the conduct complained of;

  • sub-paragraph (2) enables the appropriate authority to refer voluntarily any other complaint because there may be particular concerns about the gravity or exceptional circumstances of the conduct complained of (e.g. high incidence of a particular conduct attracting complaints or a particular local sensitivity); or

  • where a chief officer is the appropriate authority, but is not required to refer a complaint to the Commission and does not do so, sub-paragraph (3) gives a power to his police authority to refer that complaint to the Commission if it has particular concerns about the gravity or exceptional circumstances of the conduct complained of.

73.Sub-paragraph (5) provides for all these powers of referral to be exercisable at any time and, where appropriate with the consent of the Commission, irrespective of whether a complaint is under investigation or has already been considered by the Commission. The purpose of this is to allow a late referral where concerns arise after an investigation has started.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources