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Unacceptable behaviour policy

Our unacceptable behaviour policy applies to any communication with IMB staff.

Our commitment to acceptable behaviour

We commit to:

  • Provide a fair, open, transparent, proportionate and accessible service
  • Listen and understand
  • Treat everyone who contacts us with dignity, respect and empathy.

We expect others to:

  • Treat us with respect and courtesy
  • Engage with us in a way that does not impact on our ability to carry out our work effectively and efficiently for the benefit of everyone who interacts with us.

How we handle unacceptable behaviour

Whether you are a detained person, a family member, or an interested member of the public, we will respond to all queries and concerns with politeness and professionalism. As this is a place of work, our staff expect to be treated with respect in return. Although your situation may be stressful or frustrating for you, our staff have the right to do their jobs without being treated badly.

Examples of unacceptable behaviour

We will not accept aggressive behaviour, for example:

  • Swearing
  • Harassment
  • Degrading, patronising, defamatory, offensive or derogatory language or behaviour
  • Discrimination such as racism, sexism or homophobia
  • Threats of harm
  • Escalating agitation, intimidation, oppressive or coercive behaviour
  • Targeting of specific members of staff
  • Making unkind, untrue or misleading comments about IMB members or staff, especially in the public domain, in order to undermine their role or contribution.

We will also tell you if you are taking up an unfair amount of time as this could stop us helping other people. For example, if you:

  • Keep demanding things in a short space of time and/or repeating the same requests
  • Make frivolous/vexatious/repeated demands
  • Ask to speak to, or require a response from, a specific member of staff when it’s not possible, or contact lots of staff to try and get a different outcome
  • Contact Board members directly after having been told that all FOIA requests need to be submitted via the mailbox
  • Keep changing issues or raising unrelated ones
  • Frequently demand information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 that is not held by us, despite having been told that we do not hold the information (it is important to note that we are not required to disclose information we hold on behalf of another public authority, as it is the originating public authority that ‘holds’ the information for the purposes of the FOIA)
  • Keep raising the same issue when we have already said that we cannot help you further on that issue
  • Frequently ask for sensitive or confidential information that we are not allowed to share when we have already told you we are unable to provide the information
  • Make lots of complaints without giving us the chance to resolve them especially alongside making an unreasonable number of subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 2018 and/or requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • Exhibit unreasonably persistent behaviour which, because of the frequency or nature of contact, place a strain on staff time and resources (e.g. pursuing complaints in inappropriate ways, pursuing issues which appear to have no substance or are outside of the IMB remit, or which have already been responded to and the outcome determined)
  • Refuse to accept an outcome of a complaint once we have concluded an internal review, including repeatedly arguing the point and complaining about the decision and not accepting the further escalation routes available to you
  • Insist that your complaint should be dealt with in ways which are incompatible with standard procedure or good practice.

What we will do if your behaviour is unacceptable

We will give you a chance to change your behaviour by writing to you to explain why your behaviour is causing concern. However, if you continue then we might:

  • Limit how much time we spend dealing with your requests
  • Not reply to all your communications
  • Send letters and documents back to you
  • Only help you with certain issues
  • Indicate that we will not respond to any of your requests within a particular timeframe. Resumption will be based on a change in behaviour.

In serious situations we might:

  • Stop helping you completely
  • Call the police.

If you think our decision is unfair

If the IMB stops helping you, you are advised to follow the Ministry of Justice complaints process: Complaints procedure – Ministry of Justice – GOV.UK