Complaints process

 

Can the Office of the Police Ombudsman award compensation for misconduct of police officers?

No. The Office of the Police Ombudsman cannot award compensation for the actions of SAPOL officers. You should seek legal advice about any right to compensation you may have.

What powers does the Office of the Police Ombudsman have?

The Office of the Police Ombudsman has the power to:

    • receive complaints about the conduct of police officers
    • assess the merits of complaints and determine the procedure to be used to dea with complaints
    • oversee complaint investigations conducted by SAPOL
    • investigate certain complaints itself
    • recommend disciplinary or other action.

The Office of the Police Ombudsman has the additional power to raise for investigation certain matters of its own initiative without the need for a formal complaint. The Office of the Police Ombudsman must maintain a register of complaints lodged with the Office of the Police Ombudsman and with SAPOL. The Office of the Police Ombudsman also reports to Parliament on the handling of complaints.

Do police officers work at the Office of the Police Ombudsman?

No. The Office of the Police Ombudsman is not part of the police and none of its staff are police officers. The Office of the Police Ombudsman is an independent statutory body responsible for the independent oversight of the police.

Why are some complaints referred to the police?

The Office of the Police Ombudsman’s decision on how to handle a complaint is based on several factors, including the seriousness of the complaint, whether the complaint may lead to criminal charges, or if the complaint can be best resolved via police investigation. For more detail, see the pages on Complaints. If a complaint is referred to the police, the Office of the Police Ombudsman may maintain independent oversight.

What if I have a question about what is happening with my complaint?

After your complaint has been received, you will receive a letter telling you how your complaint is to be dealt with. If you are advised that your complaint has been referred to SAPOL for investigation, any questions you have should be directed to them. If your complaint is being investigated by the Office of the Police Ombudsman, we will tell you which Office of the Police Ombudsman staff member you can contact with your queries.