Suffolk police complaints drop

ALMOST 100 fewer complaints were made against police in Suffolk last year, new figures show.

Danielle Nuttall

ALMOST 100 fewer complaints were made against police in Suffolk last year, new figures show.

The number of allegations lodged against Suffolk Constabulary fell 17% during the past 12 months, from 529 in 2006/07 to 442 in 2007/08.

Most of the complaints (145) related to a perceived “neglect of duty” while claims of “incivility” (76) and oppressive conduct (43) were also high on the list.

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But only nine (2%) of the complaints made against the force were upheld - three more than 2006/07.

The figures are revealed in a performance report to be discussed by Suffolk Police Authority at a meeting on Friday.

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They show 90.6% of all complaints investigations were completed by the professional standards department within 120 days - exceeding the national target of 80%.

The constabulary also resolved 48.95% of the complaints locally, which speeds up the outcome for the member of the public and officer involved.

Speaking in the report, Deputy Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer said: “Looking over the last three-year period, it is evident that the number of complaints recorded in 2005/06 and the latest period are very similar and would suggest that the previous figure recorded in 2006/07 represents an unusually high number for which no obvious reason can be readily identified.

“To reassure members, significant work has and will continue to be undertaken to brief staff on current issues and offer advice on how to avoid attracting complaints. Full use of the complaints reduction procedure has continued, supported by the regular dialogue which takes place between the head of the professional standards department, area commanders, departmental heads and the Independent Complaints Commission (IPCC).”

Mrs Cheer added: “The professional standards unit is aware of the stressful effect that outstanding complaints may have on members of staff and the adverse effect this may have on morale and operational effectiveness. The unit has continued to place considerable emphasis on improving the timely completion of complaints investigations.”

The majority of the allegations made against the force were in relation to the southern area but the force said this was due to the fact it was the largest and busiest urban area.

The report shows complaints of racial discrimination rose last year, from 11 in 2006/07 to 20 in 2007/08.

The force said one particular incident in Ipswich town centre had resulted in multiple complaints.

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