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We are the only NZ Police oversight body

We are not part of the NZ Police

Under law we are fully independent

If you have a complaint about the NZ Police, you can come to us

Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Home / Complaints

Our complaints process

The first thing we do is read your complaint and identify the issues. If the matter you are complaining about doesn’t meet the threshold to be considered misconduct, we will take no further action.  In general, complaints about the language and attitude of police officers or call-takers don’t meet the threshold to be considered misconduct.

For matters that could be misconduct we will find the relevant Police records. We then assess the information we have and decide whether we need any more information. In most cases, the complaint and the Police records is enough for us to make a decision. It is important that you send us all the information you want us to consider when you send your complaint.

In some cases, we decide we need more information from Police. For example, we may need custody footage or the officer’s account of what happened. If we need to ask Police for more information, we will let you know we are doing that.

The Police might contact you as part of this process, to get more information or see if they can resolve the matter with you. They are allowed to do this, and we encourage you to talk to them if they contact you about your complaint.

If we need more information from you, we will let you know what we need.

We won’t interview you or contact your witnesses unless we think the complaint is serious enough that it needs a formal investigation. We will let you know if we decide your complaint needs investigation.

Because of the volume of complaints we receive, it can take between 2 and 4 months to make a decision on your complaint. You won’t hear from us during that time unless we need more information from you, but we will let you know our final decision.

If your case needs investigation

If we decide your case needs investigation, we might ask Police to investigate. We will oversee their investigation to make sure it is thorough and fair. We will also have input into the final decision.

In the most serious cases, we might decide to investigate ourselves. Any investigation that we do ourselves is independent from Police. We will talk to you about what happened and talk to any witnesses.

If we decide to oversee a Police investigation or investigate ourselves, we will let you know we are doing that.

Formal investigations can take a long time, but we will do our best to conduct any investigation as quickly as we can, and keep you updated on progress.

The following table sets out what the Authority can and can’t do for you, and your and our responsibilities.

What the IPCA does

We handle and investigate complaints about Police misconduct or neglect of duty.

We might refer your complaint to Police to investigate with our oversight. We will stay involved until the Police investigation is complete and will make sure the investigation is thorough and fair.

In the most serious cases we might decide to investigate ourselves.

What the IPCA doesn’t do

We do not have to investigate every complaint we receive. Most complaints are dealt with by reviewing what the complainant says in the complaint, and what the Police records say.

We don’t act for the complainant or any other party or organisation.

We don’t give legal advice.

We can’t force Police to take particular action. For example, we can’t direct Police to investigate a case or prosecute someone.

We can’t help you dispute an infringement, nor can we make Police withdraw an infringement.

We can’t intervene in, or review, Court decisions.

We can’t help you get compensation from Police.

The responsibility of the IPCA

We are responsible for:

  • Handling your complaint professionally and fairly
  • Giving you reasons for our decision
  • Treating you with respect.

Your responsibility when you make a complaint

You are responsible for:

  • Providing us with a clear idea of your complaint
  • Giving us all the relevant information you have (or know about) at the beginning
  • Treating us with respect - we do not tolerate abuse towards our staff.


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