When you must contact the Police Ombudsman's Office

What type of incidents should I immediately inform the Police Ombudsman's Office about?

The Police Ombudsman's Office operates a 24-hour, 7 days a week emergency response system. A Senior Investigation Officer (SIO) is on call at all times. It is essential that you refer to these Guidance Notes to assist you in deciding whether or not you should contact the on call SIO immediately.

Your local Custody Sergeant or Duty Inspector should have the Police Ombudsman SIO's on-call mobile telephone number, should you need it. This number must not be divulged to any member of the public.

The on call SIO should be contacted immediately in any of the following circumstances:

a. In the event of a complaint/allegation against a member of the police:

  • of a relevant offence, within the meaning of the PACE (Amendment) (NI) Order 2007;

  • of a sexual offence;

  • of an assault that could be classified as an assault occasioning actual bodily harm or a more serious injury;

  • that may cause widespread public concern or attract media attention.

b. In the event of a death:

  • where the conduct of a member of the police, whether on or off duty, may have resulted in the death of some other person (including road traffic accidents) ;

  • where the person was detained in a police station or was otherwise in the hands of the police at the time of the death, or where the circumstances suggest that police officers may have been among the last people to have had contact with the deceased;

  • in circumstances involving police in the execution of their duty.

c. In the event of a Police Officer discharging a firearm, except when:

  • the discharge was accidental and within police premises and resulted in no injuries;

  • the firearm was discharged during training.

d. In all cases when an AEP has been discharged (except during training)

e. In any other matter that you consider requires an immediate response.

It is important that notification to the on call SIO is not delayed while any other action is being taken.

Further information: 
What happens after I have called the Police Ombudsman's on-call SIO?
Principles governing the management of critical incident scenes. 
Contacting the Police Ombudsman's Office in non-emergency situations. 


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