Police Complaint

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A police complaint is a first-hand account of any offence or crime, which describes in layman’s words what happened. Basically, it is a narration of facts about the incident. See how to write a police complaint below.

The police can start an investigation and lodge an FIR only after you give the complaint. It can also be used as evidence in the criminal trial. Filing a complaint shows that you are genuinely affected by the incident and wish to report it; it will help to prove your case better.

A police complaint contains the narration of facts and the incident which a complainant gives to the police. An FIR is the first report made by the police about the offence after you make a police complaint. An FIR is only made for cognizable offences ( glossary). For further details on FIR, see FIR


Anyone can file a police complaint- whether it is the victim, victim’s family/friends, or any witness to a crime. Therefore, if you know someone who is a victim of any crime, you can file a police complaint on their behalf (if the victim will not have a problem with that).

You should file the police complaint in the jurisdiction where the crime is committed. For example, if the incident occurs in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, you should go to the Jubilee Hills police station. You can find out which police station has jurisdiction through a simple google search. In case of urgency, for a cognizable offence( glossary), i.e. for serious offences like rape, you can file a complaint in any police station. The police will have to register a Zero FIR immediately.

Yes, you can write/type your complaint and send it to the police station through Registered Post Acknowledgment Due. Address it to a senior police officer of the level of Deputy Commissioner or Commissioner of Police. The officer then directs the Station House Officer (of the police station of the area where the incident occurred) to lodge an FIR or conduct an investigation. The police may then come over to the residence of the victim/person giving the complaint, to take her statement.

Nowadays, many police stations in metro cities let you file a complaint online- through email or their app. You can do a simple google search to find out if this facility is available in your city. The police departments in some metro cities have launched mobile applications through which one can easily register FIR even without going to the police station, like Delhi (Himmat) and Hyderabad (Hawk Eye).

Ideally, you should file the police complaint as soon as an incident takes place. This will help the police to take fast action and evidence of the crime will not be lost.

In cases of domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, etc. women usually take time to come out and report the crime due to mental trauma and stigma. That is okay. Even if there is a delay, you can still go file a police complaint. The police will write down the reason for the delay.

The procedure to file a police complaint is given below:

  1. Inform- You go to the police station and inform the police about the offence.
  2. Written form-If you provide information orally, the police will write it down for you. You can also choose to write down your complaint yourself (we recommend this). You can either write your complaint before-hand and take it to the police station or in case of urgency, you can go directly to the police station and tell them you need to file a complaint. The police may give you a complaint form to write down the complaint. If you need more paper, you can ask the police. You can also ask for a blank paper to write your complaint and attach it to the form.
  3. Read Over- you are giving an oral complaint which the police is writing down, the police will read over all the information provided by you for confirmation. This step is not necessary if you give a written complaint.
  4. Verification and signature- Police will ask you to verify the facts again and sign the complaint.
  5. Stamp and Complaint Number- The police will stamp the complaint carrying the Daily Diary Number and give you a Complaint Number.
  6. Your Copy- The police will provide you with a free xerox copy of your complaint, which should also be signed and stamped.

Remember: Your police complaint can be used to support or contradict evidence in the trial in court. Therefore, make sure that all the details you give are accurate. If you are not sure about any detail, it is better to leave it out or give an approximate figure (for eg- if you don’t remember the exact time, you can say it was in the afternoon). DO NOT put down anything that you are not sure of because it can be used against you later to contradict your statement.

We have given you a sample complaint below for reference.

After you file the police complaint:

  1. The police will give you a complaint number and a free xerox copy of the complaint, for your record. (Section 154, Criminal Procedure Code)
  2. If the complaint is for a non-cognizable offence, the police will direct you to file a complaint with the Magistrate. To understand the entire process from filing a complaint to a court trial, see Criminal Process.

Don’t worry, you need not know the legal provisions. You can just describe the incident, and the police will write down the laws and sections.

However, you can find out which legal provisions to file under by going through the relevant topic on our website.

No documents are necessary to file a police complaint. Oral information is enough, and as explained above(see procedure), the police will write down the complaint for you. If you have any evidence, for example, photographs or medical reports (in case of domestic violence), you can always submit it to the police along with your complaint. But this is not compulsory.

It can be typed or hand-written, based on your convenience. If hand-written, make sure you write it neatly and your handwriting is clear.

You can file the police complaint in any language- the regional language of the place, or in Hindi, or in English. It need not necessarily be in English.

No problem, just give the police all the details that you have about the incident. You can describe the accused persons as much as you remember- how many were there, what clothes they wore, how they looked (eg- one was wearing specs), etc.

Remember: To file a complaint, only two things are necessary: what offence was committed and how it was committed. Even if you don’t have any other details, it is fine. The police will investigate and find out for you.

We have given you examples of all the details you can give in your police complaint, below (see sample complaint). If you remember the details and are 100% sure, you can give all the details about the incident that you remember. If you are not sure of the details, give an approximate figure (for eg- say afternoon instead of 2:30 pm) or leave it out.

Remember: Don’t write anything that you are unsure of because this can be used against you later to contradict your statements.

The process is the same as filing against a single person. Instead of 1 accused, you will give details of the multiple accused persons. If you remember, make sure to state how many and give the details of all (if you have the details).

No, you don’t need a lawyer. You can file a complaint on your own. The purpose of a police complaint is for citizens to be able to quickly tell the police what happened so that the police can start investigating. If you are filing the complaint without a lawyer’s help, please go through all the information and tips we have given you in this section so that you can protect yourself.


For the following offences, a complaint should be taken down by a female officer as far as possible (if there is no female officer, then by any other officer):

  1. Acid attack (Section 326A & 326B, Indian Penal Code)
  2. Outraging the modesty of a woman (eve-teasing). (Section 354 & Section 509, Indian Penal Code) See more
  3. Sexual harassment (Section 354A, Indian Penal Code) See more
  4. Making a woman disrobe (Section 354B, Indian Penal Code) See more
  5. Voyeurism (Section 354C, Indian Penal Code) See more
  6. Stalking (Section 354D, Indian Penal Code) See more
  7. Rape (Section 376-Section 376E, Indian Penal Code) See more

Please note: This information has been made available to you for your benefit on an ‘as is’ basis, and is only for your information. It does not constitute legal advice and cannot substitute professional legal advice. Our disclaimer policy can be viewed here ( disclaimer policy)

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