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...from just over a month with the Office of Policing and Crime. All of this is publicly available information/something you as a member of the public would find out by going through the processes and applies in England.

1.  Got a problem with the way a police investigation was conducted? Dial 101 and ask to speak to Professional Standards Department - they have the statutory duty to investigate complaints against the police.  Your Police Commissioner could do this for you but it will take longer and carry no extra weight.  You must report complaints to the Professional Standards Department of the appropriate Police force within 12 months of the event.  This is the first step before going near the IPCC who should be seen as the last resort.

2.  Got a problem with the conduct of an off-duty police officer or an ex-police officer?  Off-duty or Ex, they are a civilian and get treated as one in the eyes of the law.  If they're convicted of a crime then the Professional Standards lot get involved.

3.  Dealing with anti-social behaviour or have a concern that the police have not dealt with, but it's not a complaint?  You need to find out who your Local Policing Unit are.  Go to your county police website and in the find your local police station section, if you enter your postcode to find your local police station - there will be contact for the neighbourhood policing team who will deal with your immediate area.  Start with them for everything from littering, anti-social behaviour, etc etc.  If that fails then ask for the contact details of your Local Policing Unit Commander who will be a Chief Superintendent.  They are in overall charge of the wider area.

4.  An investigation is going very slowly and you want an update but get nowhere on the phone to the station? Go to your local station and ask to see the Duty Inspector.

5.  You've had an accident/your car has been stolen and the police take it away for you but you end up with a £150.00 bill.  There will be a £150.00 charge from the car impound.  It's a long standing agreement.  Unless you have fully comp insurance/your excess exceeds this - you'll have to pay it.

6.  Got a question about the police and don't know where to start?  E.g. Do I have to stop for an unmarked police car if it flashes lights at me?  Actually if you consider yourself to be vulnerable you can drive on (not speed/drive erratically) to a populated area and the unmarked car must include a uniformed Constable. Have a look at a website called www.askthe.police.uk because it's run by the police and contains some pretty good answers.  Don't just take my word for it.

7.  Not sure who to call in the police but it's not an emergency? Dial 101 they are a switchboard/non-emergency service.

8.  If you're concerned and want to do something - get involved in Neighbourhood watch schemes and ask for crime prevention advice from your neighbourhood policing team.  Want to make sure the police are treating their detainees well? Consider becoming a custody visitor.  From my personal experience, I would not become a PCSO or a Special - too much is asked of them for too little.

9.  Take a look at the Action Fraud website which is for reporting internet and low level financial fraud.  Be aware they are currently inundated with reports.  You might end up being trapped in the vicious circle of thinking something is a crime and trying to report it to the police who send you to action fraud who send you back to the police.  This is a mix up that is being resolved.  It's not 'a conspiracy' as I had one person tell me.

10.  Police Commissioners cannot intervene in day to day investigations and have limited powers.

11.  Anywhere in the European Union, including the UK, dialling 112 will get you to the emergency services of the country you are making the call from.

Hope my brief knowledge proves useful to someone out there.

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December 2016

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