Complaints against police reach record highs

IPCC chair says system needs 'radical reforms'

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The Independent Online

Numbers of complaints about the police soared by 15 per cent last year to reach a record high, prompting calls for an overhaul of the entire system.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission disclosed 34,863 grievances were registered in England and Wales in 2013-14, compared with 30,365 the year before.

Britain’s largest force, the Metropolitan Police, had the most complaints (7,115), followed by the forces in Greater Manchester (1,536), the West Midlands (1,473), Devon and Cornwall (1,364) and Kent (1,200).

Northumbria and City of London registered increases of more than 90 per cent as 38 of the 43 forces reported rises in complaints.

The IPCC’s chairwoman, Dame Anne Owers, said the system required “radical reforms” to ensure it was “fair, accessible and transparent”.

The number of recorded allegations about police conduct rose by 10 per cent to 61,694. The largest single category of complain was “neglect or failure in duty”, which made up 30 per cent of allegations, while “incivility, impoliteness and intolerance” made up 15 per cent of allegations and five per cent were for “unlawful/unnecessary arrest or detention”.

Jack Dromey, the shadow Policing Minister said: “Police forces in England and Wales must now work to ensure that police officers and staff conduct themselves with integrity in order to increase and maintain police confidence, vital element to effective policing.”

The Home Office is consulting on a review into the way that complaints are handled.