Have you been complained about?
The Police Complaints Authority is an independent authority that handles conduct complaint cases and investigates criminal cases involving police and prosecution service personnel. You can read more about the Police Complaints Authority’s jurisdiction here.
Below you can read about how the procedure proceeds if a conduct complaint has been lodged against you or if you are reported for a criminal offence. You can also read about your rights.
Conduct complaint cases
|Procedure in conduct complaint cases||Description|
|The Police Complaints Authority receives the complaint||When we receive a complaint, it will be screened by the Police Complaints Authority.|
The Police Complaints Authority requests the police or the prosecution service to forward the case documents and to inform you that a complaint has been lodged against you.
|The Police Complaints Authority investigates the case||When the Police Complaints Authority investigates the case, we collect various relevant material. This includes information from the complainant, witnesses, video surveillance and audio files.|
As part of the investigation, you will be asked to provide a written statement or possibly be called for an interview. The interview will be conducted by staff from the Police Complaints Authority and may be conducted by telephone or via video link.
A copy of the complaint and any other relevant attachments will be sent to you before you are asked to make a statement.
|Your legal position in a conduct complaint case||The Police Complaints Authority will advise you of your legal position before you make a statement or any questioning takes place.|
If you are the subject of a complaint, you have the right to a counsellor. You may also seek counselling from your union representative.
You can have a lawyer appointed to you at no expense to you if there are special reasons for doing so. This decision is made by the court. You can read more about this in the section below.
You are under no obligation to make a statement about the complaint to the Police Complaints Authority if this can be assumed to lead to criminal liability or disciplinary measures. You must make this assessment yourself or you can discuss this issue further with your counsellor or union representative and possibly your lawyer.
You are otherwise obliged to provide information about strictly factual matters of an official nature, e.g. whether you have participated in the specific police business. You can read more about this in the report on “the legal position of police officers in connection with official investigations etc.”, which a committee under the Ministry of Justice’s Central Police Cooperation Committee issued on 2 February 1995.
|Appointment of a lawyer in conduct complaint cases||When special reasons warrant it, the court may, at your request, appoint a lawyer for you. The Police Complaints Authority will advise you on the availability of a lawyer.|
If you have had a lawyer appointed, the lawyer will on an ongoing basis be sent a copy of the case material. The lawyer also has access to attend all interrogations of you.
|Processing time||The Police Complaints Authority will process a complaint as quickly as possible. The processing time for conduct complaint cases varies, as it depends on the nature of the case. If we have not made a decision on the case within 6 months of receiving the complaint, you and the complainant will be notified of when we expect to make a decision.|
|The Police Complaints Authority decides on the case||Once the investigation has been finalised and a possible individual hearing of the parties has taken place, the Police Complaints Authority will make a decision on the case. The decision is final and cannot be appealed to another administrative authority. You can read about response options in conduct complaint cases here.|
|Notice processing||In some cases, a conduct complaint can be handled according to a special procedure – the so-called notice processing, where a conversation takes place between the complainant and a supervisor from the police or the public prosecution service.|
Notice processing can only be carried out if the complainant agrees to it. The conversation must be conducted as soon as possible after receipt of the complaint.
If a statement is obtained from you as part of the notice processing, you cannot subsequently be subject to disciplinary liability for the matter(s) included in the notice processing.
A note must be made of the conversation with the complainant. The note must state that the complainant has been advised of the meaning of the notice processing and whether the complainant wishes the case to be settled by the Police Complaints Authority.
A copy of the note is submitted to the Police Complaints Authority where it will then be assessed whether the authority can accept that the complaint has been concluded with the notice processing.
|Possible disciplinary proceedings||The decision of the Police Complaints Authority may form the basis for possible disciplinary proceedings. It is the employing authority that decides on any disciplinary consequences of criticisable conduct.|
|Procedure in criminal cases||Description|
|The Police Complaints Authority receives the report||When we receive a report of a criminal offence, it will be screened by the Police Complaints Authority.|
|The Police Complaints Authority investigates the case||The Police Complaints Authority’s investigation may consist of various steps, including e.g. interviewing you, witnesses and the person reporting the offence.|
In some cases, it may be necessary to conduct e.g. forensic examinations or to submit the case to the Danish Board of Forensic Medicine or other authorities.
|Appointment of defence counsel||In criminal cases, you can have a defence counsel appointed if it is stipulated in Chapter 66 of the Danish Administration of Justice Act or if special reasons warrant it. This also applies even if you have not been charged.|
The request can be made by you or by the Police Complaints Authority. The court decides whether to appoint a defence counsel.
The defence counsel will have the usual powers as stated in the Danish Administration of Justice Act.
|Access to documents||If you have been appointed a defence counsel during the case, the defence counsel is generally entitled to examine the material provided by the Police Complaints Authority. The defence counsel may not hand over the material to you or others without the consent of the Police Complaints Authority.|
If you do not have a defence counsel during the case, you are generally entitled to examine the material yourself after a request for access to the material. This can be done by reviewing the material at the Police Complaints Authority.
|Processing time||The processing time in criminal cases can vary and depends, among other things, on the nature of the case. It depends, among other things, on the investigations in the case, including e.g. interrogations, technical investigations, obtaining statements from other authorities, etc. If no decision has been made in the case within 1 year from receipt of the report, you will be informed of the basis of the case and when a decision is expected to be made. The information will be given either by the Police Complaints Authority or the public prosecutor, depending on which of these authorities is handling the case.|
|The Police Complaints Authority may reject a report||The Police Complaints Authority may reject a report if no grounds are found to initiate an investigation. A decision to reject a report can be appealed to the public prosecutor.|
|Deciding on the indictment||When the investigation is completed, the Police Complaints Authority prepares a statement on the investigation. The statement and the case file are sent to the public prosecutor for a decision on the indictment. The statement must contain a review of the investigation and information about facts of importance to the case. The statement may also include an assessment of the evidence and the material that has been obtained during the investigation.|
The decision of the public prosecutor in the criminal case may be to discontinue the investigation of the case, to bring an indictment in the case, to drop the indictment in the case or to dismiss the indictment in the case.
The aggrieved party in the criminal case may appeal the decision of the public prosecutor to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Similarly, the Police Complaints Authority may appeal the decision of the public prosecutor.
The police district and the Danish National Police will be notified of the decision. For employees of the public prosecution service, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Ministry of Justice will be notified of the decision.
If no charges are brought in the case, or if the case ends in acquittal, the Police Complaints Authority may subsequently process the case as a conduct complaint.