Frequently asked questions about police complaints
NSW Ombudsman’s Office is independent from the NSW Police Force.
All complaints, even less serious matters such as rudeness, are required to be registered on the NSWPF complaints system, with details of the allegation and the outcome of any inquiries. Both the Ombudsman and PIC are able to access the NSWPF complaints information system. This is helpful as a tool to assist with our monitoring, auditing and intelligence functions. We regularly audit police complaint handling systems to make sure complaints are being handled appropriately.
Yes, you can make a complaint anonymously, however you should be aware that in that event police will not be able to contact you to discuss or clarify any aspect of your complaint.
Yes, if you are a serving officer you can fulfil your obligation to report police misconduct by submitting a complaint to us.
Can a legal representative, MP or other person complain on my behalf, or can they correspond with you on my behalf if I am the complainant?
Yes, a legal representative or a Member of Parliament can submit a complaint on your behalf. Other people can assist you in submitting a complaint if you are having difficulties.
Currently the Ombudsman is responsible for overseeing how the NSW Police Force investigates complaints and manages officers who are the subject of a complaint. This change will occur sometime in the first half of 2017, when the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, or LECC, takes over these responsibilities. Currently we are in a period of transition, transferring our responsibilities to the LECC. It is likely that many of complaints currently open, or that we receive, will be overseen by the LECC and not our office. See more details here.
While there is technically no time limit for submitting a complaint, enquiries into a complaint are likely to be more effective if the complaint is submitted soon after the incident occurred.
You should be aware that making a false complaint is an offense under section 167A of the Police Act 1990.
NSW is geographically divided into various Local Area Commands, with each Command having responsibility for a particular area. To find out which Local Area Command has responsibility for your suburb, click here.
From January 2017 oversight of police complaints will be the responsibility of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission. Click here for more information.