Rise in complaints against Hampshire Constabulary

Complaints against police are up
Complaints against police are up
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Complaints against Hampshire Constabulary soared by nine per cent last year, figures published today showed.

Gripes against the force rocketed to 1,137 in 2009/10 from 1,047 the previous year, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

There were 2,249 allegations made last year - an average 323 per 1,000 police officers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and up 14 per cent year-on-year.

Each complaint can comprise a number of allegations.

Of the allegations made against Hampshire Constabulary police officers 1,054 were investigated, 174 were withdrawn and 33 were discontinued.

In total 800 allegations were resolved locally.

The main allegations were about neglect or failure in duty and incivility - also known as being rude and late.

However Hampshire Constabulary say there have been improvements, including a drop in the average number of days taken to investigate and resolve complaints made to the force.

Independent Police Complaints Commissioner for the south east, Mike Franklin, said: ‘Prior to the introduction of the Independent Police Complaints Commission in 2004, the number of people complaining was falling and later research showed only 10 per cent of people who felt like complaining actually did. I believe that part of the reason for the increase in numbers of people complaining is that those who previously were not inclined to complain now know that doing so is worthwhile.

‘I want to encourage the police service to see complaints as an important part of improving the service they provide to local people - take the feedback on board and learn from what the public is telling you.’

Detective Superintendent Keith Deakin, from Hampshire Constabulary’s professional standards department, said: ‘Although these figures show a nine per cent increase in complaints, I’m reassured that in the last six months we have made significant improvements in areas of performance.

‘The Independent Police Complaints Commission have utilised data to provide two individual force reports called Police Complaints Information Bulletins - one for 2009/10 and the other for the current year up until September.

‘The bulletins show an improvement in many areas by Hampshire Constabulary. The average number of days to investigate a complaint is 143 days down from 173 with the average for the most similar forces being 171 days.

‘The number of days to locally resolve a complaint is 69 days down from 87, in line with the most similar force average. Complaints of incivility - as an average of total complaints - is down from 15 per cent to 13 per cent with the most similar force at 17 per cent.

‘The number of complaints received during the first three quarters of 2010 is 518, down from 778 for the corresponding period in 2009. There has however been a rise of 75 allegations recorded this year compared to 2009 when the figure was 1,358.

‘In the same period over 600 letters of congratulations were received.’

Complaints against police in England and Wales as a whole rose by eight per cent to 33,854.