Complaints rise against Warwickshire Police

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Complaints against Warwickshire Police have risen by almost a quarter – and at a higher rate than the national average.

The total number of complaints against Warwickshire Police rose 24 per cent to 215 in 2013/14, compared with an average increase of 15 per cent for England and Wales, statistics issued by the Independent Police Complaints Commission this week show. The rise follows a decrease of ten per cent in the force’s recorded complaints in 2012/13.

The commission attributes some of the increase to the definition of a complaint being broadened beyond an officer’s conduct to include matters to do with operational policing.

A complaint case may involve multiple allegations. A total of 405 allegations were made against Warwickshire Police. Per 1,000 employees the force recorded 213 allegations, compared to 251 for all forces in England and Wales.

A complainant has the right to appeal about the way in which a police force has handled their complaint. Some 58 per cent of appeals from the public against Warwickshire Police were upheld by the commission, compared with a 14 per cent rate for those considered by the force itself. The overall average rate of complaints upheld by police forces in England and Wales is 20 per cent, compared with 46 per cent by the commission.

In 2013/14, Warwickshire Police finalised 163 complaint cases in an average of 162 working days, compared to an England and Wales average of 101 working days.

Across England and Wales the most common complaints involve allegations that an officer has been neglectful or failed in their duty, or that an officer’s behaviour has been uncivil, impolite or intolerant.

Detective Supt Mark Loader, the lead officer for professional standards in Warwickshire, said: “Some of the increase in 2013/14 is down to a review of our working practices. At the same time we saw a small increase in the number of complaints. It is inevitable that with the nature of policing as it is and the number of people with whom we have contact each day, there will be occasions when members of the public will have concerns resulting from that contact and we would encourage them to come forward so that we can investigate thoroughly and identify any learning for the future. It is vital that on the few occasions where we do fall short of delivering the correct level of service, we acknowledge that as soon as possible, and do everything we can to put that right.”