15% rise in complaints about police

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Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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The number of recorded complaints about police rose by 15% last year, the police watchdog said.

A total of 34,863 complaints were made about forces in England and Wales in 2013/14, with 38 of 43 forces showing an increase compared with 2012/13, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said.

The figure also represents a 52% increase in complaints since 2004/05, the IPCC added.

The Metropolitan Police, the UK’s largest force, had the most complaint cases made against it last year, with 7,115, IPCC figures show. It was followed by Greater Manchester Police (1,536), West Midlands Police (1,473), Devon and Cornwall Police (1,364) and Kent Police (1,200).

The largest percentage increase in complaint cases year on year was recorded by Northumbria Police, which went from 401 complaints to 794, a rise of 98%, followed by City of London Police, where complaints rose 90% from 123 to 234 between 2012/13 and 2013/14.

The number of recorded allegations made about police conduct also rose by 10% to 61,694 last year, the IPCC added. More than one allegation can be included in a complaint “case” and the watchdog said some of the increase was due to the broadening of the definition of a complaint.

The largest single category for complaints was “neglect or failure in duty”, which made up 30% of allegations.

“Incivility, impoliteness and intolerance” made up 15% of allegations and 5% were for “unlawful/unnecessary arrest or detention”.

Although the number of complaints per year has fluctuated over the past 10 years, the 2013/14 figure is the highest recorded since 2004/05, the IPCC said.

Its annual complaints report, released today, noted: “By looking at the allegations data, we can see that some of the increase is because of the broadening of the definition of a complaint under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (PRSRA 2011) to include complaints relating to direction and control matters.

“However, the increase also suggests people are less satisfied about their contact with the police than in previous years or they are more willing to complain, or both.

“This is supported by the findings of research commissioned by the IPCC about the public’s confidence in the police complaints system.”

The IPCC said that 37,032 people in police forces were the subject of a complaint, up 6% from 34,897 in 2012/13. Of these 88% (32,873) were serving officers, 73% (27,161) were men and 88% (32,407) were white.

Government figures released in May showed there were 209,362 police workers in the 43 police forces (of England and Wales) on 31 March 2014, with 127,909 of them serving police officers.

Published: Monday 2nd February 2015 by The News Editor

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