Complaints against Suffolk Constabulary rise by nearly 50% in a year

Suffolk police complaints soar

Suffolk police complaints soar - Credit: Archant

Complaints against Suffolk Constabulary soared by 48% in 2013/14, according to figures issued by the Independent Police Complaints Commission today.

The rise is more than three times the average increase of 15% for England and Wales during the same period.

The 381 complaints made to Suffolk police followed a decrease of one per cent in 2012/13 when it received 258 complaints.

Some of the overall increase last year is said to be down to the definition of a complaint being broadened beyond an officer’s conduct to include ‘direction and control’ matters to do with operational policing.

A complaint case may have one or more allegations attached to it.

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A complainant has the right to appeal about the way in which a police force has handled their complaint.

A total of 45% of appeals from the public against Suffolk Constabulary were upheld by the IPCC, compared with a 32% upheld rate for those considered by the force itself.

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The overall uphold rate by police forces in England and Wales is 20%, compared with 46% by the IPCC.

The IPCC upheld 11 of 20 appeals where people were unhappy that Suffolk Constabulary had not recorded their complaint, and three of 11 appeals from people unhappy with the Suffolk Constabulary investigation into their complaint.

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.

Tim Cracknell, a spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: “We take all complaints extremely seriously and are committed to investigating them rigorously, in line with national guidelines.

“These latest figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) show that 38 out of 44 forces across the country have experienced an increase in the number of complaints received.

“These increases, as acknowledged by the IPCC, are partly down to a change in the way in which complaints are recorded. This has resulted in incidents which were previously recorded separately, being included in the figures.

“The increases may also reflect our greater accessibility, which means people can send their complaint immediately via e-mail from a smart phone or tablet rather than having to write a letter.

“While Suffolk has seen a rise in complaints received, it is important to note that compared with other forces, we remain firmly below the national average for complaints recorded per 1,000 employees.

“It is also important to view the number of complaints received in context. As a front-line public service, we have hundreds of interactions with people needing our help on a daily basis – and the vast majority of these do not result in any form of complaint.

“We want to offer a service which not only reduces crime but also inspires trust and confidence. As such, we will continue to focus on reducing complaints both through issuing guidance, and training officers and staff.”

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