The Police Ombudsman has two investigations directorates - the Current and Historical Investigations Directorates.
The Current Investigations Directorate deals primarily with complaints made to the Office about incidents which have occurred in the previous year (members of the public have one year from an incident in which to make a complaint about it, unless the Police Ombudsman deems the complaint to be grave or exceptional).
Leaflet: Dealing with complaints about the conduct of police officers
The Directorate consists of three teams, of around 75 staff in total. The teams include the Initial Complaints and Investigations Team, the Core Investigations Team and the Significant Cases Investigation Team.
Download our leaflet about the police complaints process
The Initial Complaints and Investigations Team receives complaints over the phone, by email, via this website, and from members of the public who call to make a complaint in person at our offices in Belfast City Centre.
The Current Investigations Directorate investigates about 1,500 cases each year.
Investigating Officers within the Core Investigations Team and the Initial Complaints and Investigations Team investigate about 1,500 complaints a year. The largest category of complaint they deal with is failure in duty, involving allegations that police failed to do their job as they should (e.g. failed to respond quickly enough to a 999 call, or failed to conduct a thorough investigation). The next largest category involves allegations of oppressive behaviour, which includes allegations of assault and harassment. Other allegations include that officers were rude or uncivil.
The Significant Investigation Team deals with complex or serious matters, including some complaints relating to incidents which occurred more than one year ago. These are complaints deemed by the Police Ombudsman to be grave and exceptional, and relating to incidents which happened outside of the period 1968-1998.
The Historical Investigations Directorate investigates grave or exceptional matters relating to the actions of police officers during the conflict in Northern Ireland between 1968 and 1998 (commonly known as "The Troubles").