Informal Resolution

Informal Resolution is a process which is used to try to reach agreement between you and the complainant about the best way to deal with the issues raised.

When a complaint is received, the Police Ombudsman will decide within three days whether it is suitable for informal resolution. Only complaints deemed to be non-serious will be informally resolved.

If the complaint is suitable for IR and the complainant consents to the process, the Police Ombudsman's Office will then refer the matter to the PSNI's Service Improvement Department (SID), which will then manage the Informal Resolution process.

If you are subject of a complaint which is deemed suitable for IR, these are the different stages you can expect the process to go through.

Stage One

SID will select an Appointed Member (AM) of Inspector rank or above, who will then interview the complainant and establish what actions or outcomes they hope to achieve.

Stage Two

The AM will then contact you and arrange a time and location at which he or she will then personally interview you in relation to the issues raised.

You will also be served with form 17/2(b).

Stage Three

The AM will then reinterview the complainant, unless during the initial interview the complainant expressed satisfaction with the action to be taken and does not want to meet the AM again.

The AM will then ask the complainant to complete a statement of satisfaction to confirm that the matter has successfully been resolved.

When the matter has been resolved a record of outcome will be prepared by SID and forwarded to the Police Ombudsman's Office. This record is made available to the complainant, and also to you should you request it.

If the matter is not resolved the complaint is then returned to the Police Ombudsman's Office for a formal investigation of the issues raised.

Your rights and obligations

Regulation 4 of the RUC (Complaints) (Informal Resolution) Regulations 1988 grants you the right to comment upon the complaint, either orally or in writing, but there is no obligation on you to do so.

Nothing you say during the informal resolution can be used against you in any disciplinary, civil or criminal proceedings unless it consists of or includes an admission about a matter unrelated to the informal resolution.

Safeguarding your and the complainant's interests

The following rules apply to informal resolution, in order to protect the rights of you and the complainant.

  • The appointed member may not tender an apology on your behalf unless you admit the conduct in question and agree to such an apology being given.
  • If it appears to that officer that the resolution of the complaint may be assisted by a meeting between you and the complainant, such a meeting cannot be arranged without your consent.
  • Should attempts to resolve the complaint informally be unsuccessful, the complaint will be referred to the Police Ombudsman to investigate further.
  • No entry relating to the attempted or successful resolution of the complaint will be made on your personal record.


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