Number of complaints made against police increases

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NEW figures show an increase in the number of concerns raised about the police.

The numbers revealed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) detail how the number of complaints made against Northumbria Police has risen from 608 last year to 680 during the last 12 months.

The watchdog looked into 146 appeals during same stretch, upholding 78 of them – or 53 per cent – which is higher than the 38 per cent result across the country’s forces.

The report also shows 1,416 allegations were made and 194 appeals held about the force’s handling of complaints.

Of those cases, 22 were resolved locally and 53 were about its failure to record a complaint.

In Durham Constabulary’s area, 243 complaints were made, up from 199 in 2010 to 2011, with 498 allegations made and 60 appeals lodged about how it looked into issues.

The appeals included about 30 which raised concerns with the way it dealt with investigations into complaints, with eight resolved locally and 22 about its own failure to record complaints.

The fresh figures come as the IPCC said it is dealing with an increasing number of appeals from people unhappy with the service they have been given.

Nationally, 6,339 appeals were made, a rise of three per cent.

Northumbria Police has said it welcomes the new figures and is ready to listen to concerns raised about its operations.

Deputy Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said: “We are constantly working to ensure that people have the confidence to report problems and the mechanisms are in place to make sure their voices are heard – this is a priority for us.

“The key challenge that the report identified was the need to reduce the number of appeals made by members of the public which were upheld by the IPCC.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Winship, deputy head of professional standards department at Durham, said: “Although the IPCC report does show an increase in our recorded complaints, we still have some of the lowest figures nationally.
 “We also have a good record of dealing with complaints quickly where appropriate, and our actions are focused around the complainant.

“Durham Constabulary takes all complaints about our service provision, or against our staff, seriously. However, an increase in complaints is not necessarily a negative outcome, since it means people have confidence in the system.”

Dame Owers, chairman of the IPCC said: “All Chief Constables should take personal interest in the findings of this report and assure themselves that they and their staff are meeting their obligations to record and resolve valid complaints from the public.
 “In particular, they should look closely at the number and type of appeals upheld by the IPCC.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham