Police complaints on the rise

COMPLAINTS against police in Suffolk have risen by almost 17% in the first six months of the year, new figures show.But the force says it is down to more accurate recording of complaints received by the Professional Standards department and says it reflects the picture that was already there.

By Danielle Nuttall

COMPLAINTS against police in Suffolk have risen by almost 17% in the first six months of the year, new figures show.

But the force says it is down to more accurate recording of complaints received by the Professional Standards department and says it reflects the picture that was already there.

A report due to be presented to Suffolk Police Authority on Friday shows the number of complaints rose from 167 between April and September 2004 to 195 for the same period this year.


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But the increase has slowed compared to the first six months of last year which saw an increase in complaints of 28%.

The report says the Professional Standards department identified in March that there were a number of complaints being received in areas that were not being recorded and as a result ensured all were recorded in future.

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Suffolk Constabulary said this has led to the increase in the number of recorded cases.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said last night: “Suffolk's Constabulary's Professional Standards Unit is constantly working to improve the level of service it gives to both the force and to the people of Suffolk.

“Improvements have been made to the speed with which complaints are handled. 96% of all complaints received in the first six months of 2005/6 are dealt with within 120 days which well exceeds the national standard of 80%.

“Previously working practice in some areas meant that a number of complaints recorded by police locally were not automatically passed to Professional Standards.

“This situation has been remedied and as a result the level of recorded complaints has risen by 16.7% which equates to an additional 28 complaints being received and dealt with.”

Suffolk Constabulary resolved 52% of its complaint cases locally which is above its full 12-month target of 50% or above, according to the report.

The Professional Standards department also completed 90% of all complaints in 120 days which is above the national target that has been set at 80%.

Data shows that fewer complaints are made against officers in Suffolk compared to the average recorded by a group of similar forces compromising Devon and Cornwall, North Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire and Norfolk.

Between April and September this year, Suffolk recorded 146.9 complaints per 1,000 officers while the most similar forces average out at 313.6.

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