Complaint reviews

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 and supporting regulations made significant changes to the police complaints and disciplinary systems. The legislation introduced a number of changes to existing legislation (such as the Police Reform Act 2002) which are designed to achieve a more customer-focused complaints system. This, in part, has impacted on the way complaints against British Transport Police are handled.

Reviews of complaint were previously known as appeals and dealt with by PSD. From 4 January 2021 the BTPA will be the relevant review body for local investigations apart from those complaints or conduct matters listed below which the IOPC are responsible for reviewing.

The IOPC is the relevant review body where:

i. the appropriate authority is a local policing body
ii. the complaint is about the conduct of a senior officer (an officer holding a rank above chief superintendent)
iii. the appropriate authority is unable to satisfy itself, from the complaint alone, that the conduct complained of (if it were proved) would not justify the bringing of criminal or disciplinary or would not involve an infringement of a person’s rights under Article 2 or 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights
iv. the complaint has been, or must be, referred to the IOPC
v. the IOPC is treating the complaint as having been referred
vi. the complaint arises from the same incident as a complaint falling within ii-v
vii. any part of the complaint falls within ii-vi
If a request to review is submitted to either the IOPC or the BTPA and they are not the correct review body, then they will forward it to the correct review body and notify the complainant that this has happened.

What a review means

A review offers the opportunity to consider whether the complaint outcome is reasonable and proportionate but not the handling of the incident leading to the complaint. Each review will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If the reviewer concludes that the outcome was not reasonable and proportionate, the review should be upheld i.e. the service provided by the police was not acceptable the BTPA will, where appropriate, make recommendations to BTP.

Requesting a complaint review

Complainants will have been advised by British Transport Police in their complaint outcome letter if they have the right of review and who is the appropriate review body (either the BTPA or IOPC). The review can only be against the outcome of a formal complaint, i.e. a complaint that has been recorded under the legislation. The right of review does not apply to an informal complaint i.e. one that has not been recorded. The BTPA will only be the review body for local investigations.

The timeframe for requesting a review is 28 days from the date of the letter concluding the complaint.

Please note only the complainant or someone acting on their behalf (with their written consent) can make an application for a review.

What you can expect from the BTPA in conducting the review process

Within five working days of receiving the application for a review, the BTPA will acknowledge your request for a review in writing and let you know the next steps. You should provide us with any relevant information about your complaint when submitting your request. We will then inform you when you can expect to hear about the review and what will happen next. You will also be given a point of contact for any queries. Decisions will be reached as soon as practicable, however, the BTPA will provide an update every 28 days.

How will my review be carried out?

In line with the IOPC statutory guidance the review will not be a reinvestigation of your complaint, but rather to consider if the outcome that was given to you was reasonable and proportionate.
Further information and a copy of the statutory guidance can be found on the IOPC’s website

To consider your review we will contact British Transport Police and ask them to provide any information they have about your complaint and how it was dealt with. Once we have received all the information, we will assess your complaint and make a decision.

This decision will be communicated to you in writing, along with a clear and evidence-based rationale.
It is important to understand that we will not be reinvestigating your complaint, we can only assess how your complaint was handled.

What to include with your review

  • The details of the complaint.
  • The date on which the complaint was made.
  • The name of the force who decision is the subject of the application and the date on which the  complainant was provided with the outcome.
  • The details about their right of review at the conclusion of the investigation or other handling of their  complaint.
  • Please explain would you would like to happen.

Please ensure you send the correct details to ensure your review is valid.

Request a review

Please use the review request form – Appeal Form 

You should include a copy of your outcome letter and any supporting information you have to assist us with the review. By completing this form, you will be giving us the required information and you are giving us permission to access your complaint case.

The form should be sent to –

By email – [email protected]

In writing – British Transport Police Authority, British Transport Police Force Headquarters, 25 Camden Road, London NW1 9LN