If you are not satisfied with the service provided to you by the police or a police officer, you can lodge a claim (for administrative grievances) or complaint (for criminal grievances) with the Inspectorate of Police (Inspection générale de la Police - IGP).
By informing the IGP of your grievances or concerns, you can contribute to the continuous improvement of the services offered by the police.
Who is concerned
Anyone affected by the behaviour or actions of a police officer or division may lodge a claim or complaint.
This also applies to police officers.
A claim or complaint must be lodge as soon as possible, ideally within 6 months of the incident.
This time limit ensures that there is sufficient time for an effective investigation to be carried out, and that any required disciplinary proceedings fall within the limitation period.
How to proceed
Types of claims and complaints
There are several kinds of claims and complaints. The IGP handles claims and complaints pertaining to:
- general improper behaviour by the police or a police division;
- the behaviour of an individual police officer.
Claims and complaints and false accusations
Complaints against a police officer or police division must be based on facts.
If a claim or written complaint is made against a police officer or police division and
- if it is not based on actual events;
- or if the actual events are presented in an exaggerated manner;
- and the claim or complaint is intended to be detrimental to the person in question,
the claim may be considered to be made in bad faith and may thus be governed by the provisions of Article 445 of the Criminal Code regarding false accusations or other offences.
Lodging a claim or complaint
There is no specific form for lodging a claim or complaint.
In addition to submitting a claim or complaint online, claims/complaints can also be lodged with the IGP by:
- arranging an appointment with one of their local offices;
- submitting your grievances by post or fax;
- for persons with reduced mobility: by requesting a visit from an IGP officer.
Complaints may be made either directly or through a lawyer.
In principle, any claim or complaint addressed directly to the police will also be sent to the Inspectorate of Police.
Processing and outcome of claims and complaints
Except in special cases (for example, if a criminal offence was committed by the police officer), the Inspectorate of Police will immediately inform the Directorate General of Police (Direction générale de la police) of the existence of a claim. The officer or division concerned, as well as their supervisors, are then informed by the Directorate General of Police.
The claimant, for their part, is informed in writing of who the investigator or department in charge of the case will be.
In some cases, the IGP contacts the claimant to collect additional data.
If the Inspectorate of Police decides to handle the claim, it opens an administrative investigation.
At the end of administrative investigations of this kind, the Inspectorate of Police communicates its findings in writing to the Directorate General of Police and the responsible Minister.
The Directorate General of Police informs the division or officer in question of the outcome of the investigations and the recommendations made by the IGP. The police, for their part, undertake the necessary internal measures (warnings, awareness training, adaptation of procedures and prescribed measures, etc.).
When the investigation is closed, the claimant will also be informed in writing. The IGP will send them a summary of the conclusions of the investigation.
If the complaint was for criminal acts, the IGP will inform the respective judicial authorities. If approval for an investigation is given, the IGP will conduct a criminal investigation pursuant to the Criminal Investigation Code (Code d’Instruction Criminelle - CIC). The outcome of such an investigation can be communicated only by the judicial authorities.
Withdrawal of a claim or complaint
The claimant may withdraw their claim or complaint in writing at any time.
However, the Inspectorate of Police may continue its investigations if it believes that the facts referred to need to be further investigated.