Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Printable version

IOPC publishes figures on police complaints made in 2020/21

The Independent Office for Police Conduct yesterday published its annual report on police complaints in 2020/21.

These are the first complaints statistics to be published since moving to a new system of recording complaints, under new regulations within the Policing and Crime Act, which came into force in February 2020.

Yesterday’s figures present different data from previous annual complaints reports due to the changes in legislation and changes to the complaint categories.

As a result, these figures are ‘experimental statistics’ as defined by the Office for National Statistics, which describes them as a ‘series of statistics that are in the testing phase and not yet fully developed’. For this reason, any conclusions about trends need to be treated with caution and they cannot be meaningfully compared to previous years.

A police complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by a member of the public about the service they have received from a police force.

The report shows:

Complaints logged:

  • In 2020/21 67,732 complaint cases were logged and 36,365 of these were recorded formally – this is using the new definition of a complaint in the Policing and Crime Act.
  • A complaint case can contain a number of allegations - 109,151 allegations were logged
  • 62,606 people complained about the police 55% of complainants were men. The most common age group to complain were those aged 30-39 (20%). Where known, most complainants were White (47%).
  • 38,982 people serving with the police were subject to a complaint. 67% of those complained about were male and where known, 81% were White.

Dealing with complaints:

  • Police forces finalised 32,012 allegations on complaint cases that were handled informally outside of the requirements of Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002 which sets out legal requirements for the handling of complaints.
  • On average, these allegations took 20 working days to finalise.
  • 45,205 allegations were handled formally but not investigated and on average took 57 days to finalise.
  • 6,533 allegations were investigated formally and on average took 106 days to finalise.

Complaint outcomes:

Given the experimental status of these statistics, caution is needed when drawing conclusions about the outcomes reported. Not all complaints recorded in 20/21 will have been finalised and so these outcomes present only a partial picture.

  • 41% of cases handled informally were finalised with an explanation being given to the complainant. 31% of cases resulted in no further action. Learning and reflective activity were the outcomes of 14% of cases handled informally.
  • Of the 23,243 complaint cases handled under Schedule 3 in 2020/21, more than half (57%) had at least one allegation resulting in no further action being taken.
  • 18 complaint cases had at least one allegation resulting in either a misconduct meeting or hearing.
  • In more than 40% of complaint allegations finalised, the police took some action; this ranged from explanations being given (24%), learning outcomes (9%), referral to a reflective practice review process (4%), or other outcomes (6%).
  • Reviews are handled by the appropriate review body. Local policing bodies (LPB) received 4,346 reviews and upheld 15% of those handled otherwise than by investigation, and 19% of those subject to investigation.
  • The IOPC dealt with 969 reviews and upheld 32% of those.


Channel website:

Original article link:

Share this article

Latest News from
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)

5 ways to enhance Microsoft 365 with sustained information and process Governance.