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How to complain to the Police Complaints Authority

Introduction

The Police Complaints Authority is an independent body based in Wellington which oversees Police investigations and investigates individual complaints against the Police. You can make a complaint to the Authority:

  • alleging misconduct or neglect of duty by any Police officer, or
  • concerning any practice, policy, or procedure of the Police that affects you in a personal capacity

The rules that govern the practice of the Authority are contained in the POLICE COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY ACT 1988.

How do I make a complaint?

A complaint may be made either orally or in writing, but if made orally it must be put in writing as soon as practicable.

You can make your complaint to:

  • the Authority directly
  • a Police officer
  • the Ombudsman or
  • if in writing, a Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District Court

You can contact the Police Complaints Authority at:

  • 89 The Terrace
    Wellington
  • phone: (04) 499 2050
  • fax: (04) 499 2053

How will my complaint be dealt with?

Your complaint will be referred to one of the designated offices throughout the country who will investigate.

The Authority has wide-ranging options as to how it deals with complaints. It may either:

  • carry out an investigation itself
  • defer an investigation until a report from the Commissioner of Police
  • oversee an investigation, or
  • decide to take no action

Any action taken is private and a hearing may be held. If this occurs you may not have a right to be heard by the Authority. Anything stated in the proceedings is privileged in the same way as in a court hearing.

Cautionary notes
  • As well as making a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority there may be other legal action you can take to remedy any harm caused you by Police misconduct, such as a civil claim for damages. A lawyer will be able to advise you of your possible legal remedies and the procedure for exercising them.

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