Back to RJ Archive

A Force For Change? The Prospects for Applying Restorative Justice to Citizen Complaints against the Police in England and Wales

McLaughlin, Eugene
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) British Journal of Criminology 42:635-653

The rise of the victim support movement and the emergence of restorative justice practices have established ‘the victim’ as central to debate on criminal justice policy in the United Kingdom. However, victims of police misconduct have to date remained largely invisible within this debate. The aggrieved citizen is not allocated the morally validated status of ‘victim’ but the highly problematic status of ‘complainant’. As a result, the police complaints system concentrates its efforts on interrogating her or his motives and complaints tend to be rendered unconvincing by the system. In many respects, the system acts to discipline or punish those citizens who have the temerity to lodge a complaint against police officers. It is now proposed, in the context of broader reforms, that the application of restorative justice principles will overcome the core problems associated with the police complaints system.


AbstractConflictCourtsPolicePrisonsRJ and Community DisputesRJ in Schools
Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now