Back to RJ Archive

Making the Response Fit the Complaint: Alternative Strategies for Resolving Complaints Against Police

Ede, Andrew
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Crime and Misconduct Commission Research & Issues Paper No. 1. Crime and Misconduct Commission. Australia

Today, the Queensland police in Australia are searching for alternative strategies in resolving complaints against police by moving away from the traditional investigative approach to more strategic and innovative approaches. This article presents a description of four different response options or methods; investigation, mediation, informal, and managerial. Investigation involves the systematic gathering of evidence to verify an accusation made against someone or to identify the person responsible for an offense. Mediation or conferencing is an alternative method of dispute resolution that involves trained neutral mediators. Informal resolution or conciliation is a process where an authorized member attempts to resolve a complaint made against a police officer informally. Managerial resolution encourages and empowers managers and supervisors to deal with complainants’ concerns relating to an officer’s competence or conduct through remedial strategies such as guidance, coaching, or specialized training. Findings are presented on these methods advantages and disadvantages through the use of surveys of police and complainants. The findings indicated that informal resolution was much less time-consuming and much less expensive than formal investigation. An outline is presented on the guideline requirements when matching responses to complaints that include: (1) how serious is the complaint; (2) what is the complainant’s objective; (3) what is the subject officer’s complaints history; and (4) what is the subject officer’s version of events? The article stimulates discussion on how to improve selection decisions for the most effective resolution process for any given circumstance.


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