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Independent Police Complaints Commission
Abbreviation IPCC
Formation April 2004
Legal status Non-departmental public body
Purpose/focus Complaints about the English and Welsh police forces
Location 90 High Holborn, London, UK & four other regional offices
Region served England & Wales
Membership 18 commissioners
Chairman Nick Hardwick
Main organ The Commission
Parent organization Home Office
Website IPCC

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is a non-departmental public body in England and Wales responsible for overseeing the system for handling complaints made against police forces in England and Wales.



It can also elect to manage or supervise the police investigation into a particular complaint and will independently investigate the most serious cases itself. While some of the IPCC's investigators are former police officers, the commissioners themselves cannot have worked for the police by law.[1]

Since April 2006 it has taken on responsibility for similar, serious complaints against HM Revenue and Customs and the Serious Organised Crime Agency in England and Wales. In April 2008, it additionally took on responsibility for serious complaints against UK Border Agency staff.


The statutory powers and responsibilities of the commission were set out by the Police Reform Act 2002, and it came into existence on 1 April 2004, replacing the Police Complaints Authority. It is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), funded by the Home Office, but by law entirely independent of the police, interest groups and political parties and whose decisions on cases are free from government involvement.[2]

Since April 1 2004 the IPCC has used its powers to begin 171 independent and 533 managed investigations (as at 29 August 2007) into the most serious complaints against the police. It has set standards for police forces to improve the way the public's complaints are handled. The Commission also handles appeals by the public about the way their complaint was dealt with by the local force.


Once a matter has been referred, the IPCC will make a ‘mode of investigation’ decision to determine how it should be dealt with. This may involve a formal scene assessment by IPCC investigators.

Independent investigations are carried out by the IPCC’s own investigators and overseen by an IPCC Commissioner. In an independent investigation, the IPCC investigators have all the powers of the police themselves.

Managed investigations are carried out by police Professional Standards Departments (PSDs), under the direction and control of the IPCC.

Supervised investigations are carried out by police PSDs, under their own direction and control. The IPCC will set the terms of reference for a supervised investigation and receive the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal to the IPCC following a supervised investigation.

Local investigations are carried out entirely by police PSDs. Complainants have a right of appeal to the IPCC following a local investigation. [3]


The IPCC claims to be committed to getting closer to the communities it serves. Its Commissioners and staff are based in IPCC regional offices in Cardiff, Coalville, London and Sale plus a sub office in Wakefield.

The IPCC was given the task of increasing public confidence in the complaint systems. It aims to make investigations more open, timely, proportionate and fair.

The IPCC has its own independent investigators, giving it the choice of supervising police investigations into serious complaints or independently investigating them itself. In the vast majority of cases it simply passes on complaints to the Professional Standards Division of the force the complaint is about.

IPCC Investigators are not police officers. However, IPCC Investigators designated to undertake an investigation have all the powers and privileges of a police constable in relation to that investigation throughout England and Wales (Police Reform Act, 2002- Schedule 3, Paragraph 19). However, despite being established in April 2004, the first known use of these arrest powers was in 2007 when a former police officer was arrested in relation to allegations of sexual assault. [4]


The Commissioners are appointed by the Home Secretary for a five year period and cannot be former staff of the bodies they have responsibility for investigating. The Commission is the governing board of the IPCC, holding collective responsibility for governance of the Commission including oversight of the Executive. As public office holders, Commissioners oversee and take ultimate responsibility for IPCC investigations, casework and the promotion of public confidence in the complaints system (known as Guardianship).

Commissioners in making decisions on individual cases act under the delegated authority of the Commission. All appointments, which are full-time and non-executive are for a five year term, were through open competition. The commission meets bi-monthly and dates can be found on the IPCC website.

The Commissioners are-

Post/Region Forces Commissioners[5] Biographies
Chair - Nick Hardwick Nick Hardwick's biography
Deputy Chairs - Deborah Glass, Len Jackson Deborah Glass' biography

Len Jackson's biography

Central office West Midlands, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Cambridge University, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex Len Jackson, Amerdeep Somal, Rachel Cerfontyne Len Jackson's biography

Amerdeep Somal's biography

Rachel Cerfontyne's biography

Wales & South West office North Wales, Dyfed Powys, South Wales, Gwent and Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Avon & Somerset, Devon & Cornwall, British Transport Police Tom Davies, Rebecca Marsh Tom Davies' biography

Rebecca Marsh's biography

North office Northumbria, Durham, Cleveland, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Humberside, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Port of Liverpool, Lancashire, Cheshire, HM Revenue and Customs, UK Border Agency Gary Garland, Nicholas Long, Naseem Malik Gary Garland's biography

Nicholas Long's biography

Naseem Malik's biography

London & South East office Thames Valley, Hampshire, Surrey. Sussex, Kent, Metropolitan Police, City of London, Serious Organised Crime Agency Mike Franklin, Deborah Glass Mike Franklin's biography

Deborah Glass' biography

Example of IPCC reports

Press Releases: Example: On 11 July 2007, the Independent Police Complaints Commissions issued the following press release.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has concluded its managed investigation into a fatal road traffic collision in Briar Mill, Droitwich in Worcestershire on 23 June 2006.
The investigation examined the police involvement leading up to the collision and officers' actions in the context of the force policy and procedures applicable in such circumstances. It also looked at the lines of communication between the CMPG and the West Mercia Force Control Room at the time of the pursuit.
John Crawley, IPCC Commissioner said, "our investigation demonstrates quite clearly that the police officers involved acted in a completely appropriate manner. Their actions in no way caused the collision involving the stolen Mercedes and officers acted in full accordance with their professional duties."

Click here for the latest IPCC press release on the IPCC's website.

Click here to follow @IPCCnews on Twitter

Investigations report: Reports which present the findings and recommendations of IPCC and Police Complaints Authority (PCA) investigations.

Click here for the latest IPCC investigation report on the IPCC's website.

Northern Ireland and Scotland

The IPCC self-regulation scheme covers England and Wales; oversight of the police complaints system in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. In Scotland it is the responsibility of the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland (PCCS) for non-criminal complaints, or the Procurator Fiscal, part of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service where there are allegations of criminality.

Resignation of the Police Action Lawyers Group from the IPCC's advisory board

In February 2008 over a hundred lawyers who specialise in handling police complaints resigned from its advisory body, citing various criticisms of the IPCC including a pattern of favouritism towards the police, indifference and rudeness towards complainants and complaints being rejected in spite of apparently powerful evidence in their support.[6] The IPCC responded to these criticisms with a letter to The Guardian. [7]

It has been noted that "no policeman has ever been convicted of murder or manslaughter for a death following police contact, though there have been more than 400 such deaths in the past ten years alone."[8]

See also


External links



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