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What happens if a complaint is made about you?

If the Police Ombudsman's Office receives information which suggests that you may be the subject of a complaint, we are under a legal obligation to inform you as soon as possible. We will send you, via email, an OMB52 form containing whatever information we have at that time in relation to the issues raised.

Please note that receipt of an OMB52 does NOT mean that you are under investigation. It simply means that, on the basis of the information we have received, you may have been involved in an incident which has given rise to a complaint.

As we are legally obliged to issue an OMB52 as soon as is reasonably practicable (to allow you as much time as possible to prepare a response to potential allegations against you), the form may not contain much information about the situation complained about.

Although we will include as much information as we can, at such an early stage we can only include whatever information we have been given. We may not, for example, be able to be specific about dates, the exact circumstances or other details.

After you have received an OMB52, there are two ways in which the complaint may proceed.

  1. If we establish that the information in the OMB52 does in fact relate to you, you will then receive an OMB3(b) form (also known as a Regulation 9 notice) which is a formal notification that you are the subject of an investigation.

  2. If, however, we subsequently establish that you were not involved in the circumstances complained about, we will then issue you with an OMB53 form. This confirms that you will not be investigated in relation to the complaint.

If you receive an OMB3(b), it will include the name and contact details of the Police Ombudsman Investigating Officer allocated to your case. You are welcome to contact him or her at any time during working hours to seek information in relation to your case.

You are welcome at any time during working hours to contact the Investigating Officer for information on your case.

The OMB3 also offers you an opportunity to respond to the allegations against you - which you may or may not choose to do at this stage of the investigation.

If you require advice, you may wish to contact the Police Federation, who will offer you support and guidance.

You should be updated on the progress of the investigation at least every eight weeks. An update may be in writing or by telephone or email. You may also contact the Police Ombudsman investigator at any stage of the investigation to seek an update.

We recognise that being under investigation is traumatic and seek to complete our enquiries as quickly as possible.

The Police Ombudsman recognises that being under investigation can be a traumatic process. We try to complete our investigations as quickly as we reasonably can, without compromising our enquiries.

In order to help speed up the investigative process we would encourage officers and designated staff to keep any appointments they have made with the Police Ombudsman's Office, and to supply any requested information as quickly as you can.