Letter: Police Complaints

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Sir: You report (15 December) Home Office figures on police complaints that are in our view misleading.

The total complaints (36,000) include the majority which are resolved informally, withdrawn or cannot be investigated due to lack of co-operation from complainants. The discipline figures that you quoted omit most of the action taken during the year.

Our figures present a different picture. In the year ending in March, 5,005 cases were fully investigated. These resulted in 235 formal disciplinary charges and in addition 1,018 officers received warnings or admonishments.

Thus on average one in four cases of complaint led to disciplinary action, as opposed to the one in 400 you report. I would dispute the Metropolitan Police figures being lower than the national average. Last year 957 cases led to 329 formal or informal disciplinary actions, a ratio of three to one.

Your leading article (16 December) draws conclusions from the misleading figures. However, I do most strongly agree with you that officers who are rude or threaten members of the public do untold damage. In our latest annual report the Police Complaints Authority warned the police service about this problem, which can turn natural supporters of police into opponents.

PETER MOORHOUSE

Chairman

Police Complaints Authority

London SW1

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