Professional Standards

The Professional Standards department assesses and coordinates the follow-up to any complaint made about the conduct of Thames Valley Police officers and police staff.

The Head of the Professional Standards department is Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Ward.

The aims of the Professional Standards department are to:

  • Investigate allegations of misconduct and to prove/disprove the involvement of any member of the Thames Valley Police extended family.
  • Work on and analyse information/intelligence on any unethical police activity from a range of sources.
  • Assist the Force with organisational learning.
  • Deal with issues around Thames Valley Police service delivery and seek to quickly resolve dissatisfaction with the service we have provided.

The department was set up as a proactive unit within Thames Valley Police in 2001. The most typical allegations that the department receives are, for example, about incivility, a failure in duty or the use of excessive force during arrest situations.


All complaints will be managed by the Quality and Standards Unit within Professional Standards.

On receipt of a complaint the unit will seek to address the issues raised as quickly as possible with a view to restoring your confidence in the service we provide.

If we cannot resolve your concerns immediately we will aim to achieve a fast and mutually acceptable resolution. Where this fails, a formal complaint process will be instigated.

A number of complaints can be handled through a process called Local Resolution. This is where a manager of the police officer or police staff involved will make contact with you and try to address the concerns you have raised.

Local Resolution is used where it is clear that there will be no disciplinary action taken against the officer or police staff member involved.

The manager will seek your views and opinions and come up with an action plan to resolve your complaint. This may include explaining police procedures to you, apologising on behalf of the Force and seeking an explanation from the officer or police staff member about the actions they have taken.

At the end of the process you will be advised that the matter has been finalised.

You have a right of appeal against the outcome of a local resolution.

Making a complaint

Thames Valley Police takes complaints very seriously. Please contact us if you are unhappy with the service that you have received, or wish to raise an issue.

Your complaint will be handled by the Professional Standards department. Alternatively you can make a complaint via the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)

The IPCC oversees the system for dealing with a complaint about inappropriate conduct of police officers and police staff. They deal with some very serious complaints about matters such as, for example, fatal police pursuits, shootings, and a death in custody.

The IPCC took responsibility for overseeing and developing the complaints system in April 2004.