Practitioners define the police complaints system of Hong Kong as a two-tier system. In this article, written at the request of the organisers of a 2014 Symposium, the international reform trend and purposes of police complaints systems are briefly outlined before examination of the Hong Kong system. A different conceptualisation is suggested to the one currently preferred by practitioners. It is observed that three organisations â€“ the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Complaints Against Police Office of the Hong Kong Police Force, and the Independent Police Complaints Council â€“ share responsibility for handling complaints against the police. It is proposed that a full and comprehensive audit of the powers, duties and responsibilities of the three organisations that comprise this tripartite system, supported by research on the experiences of complainants, would provide an important evidence base for developing the system.