Complaints against the police rose by 10% last year and are now at a record high, according to statistics published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
A total of 28,998 complaint cases were recorded during the year – an increase of 2,730 on the previous year. This represents a total rise of 83% since April 2004, when a new complaints system came into force.
Nearly half of complaints against the police are allegations of neglect or failure of duty and incivility, such as rudeness.
Nick Hardwick, IPCC chairman, said: “Forces and police authorities need to address the various categories of complaints more effectively. What are sometimes perceived as relatively minor matters, such as incivility and neglect of duty, account for almost half of all allegations against police personnel.
“They concern such things as rudeness, not keeping someone informed about a case as promised, and failing to investigate someone’s crime properly. But for the law-abiding citizen, their contact with the police, whether real or perceived, can have a profound impact on their confidence in the police service as a whole.”
The IPCC said there was no single explanation for the rise in complaints. However the key drivers for the increases were likely to be:
- Increased awareness and accessibility
- The improved recording of complaints
- The availability of the IPCC telephone complaints line.
Police officers were the largest group (93%) complained against, compared to police staff, including traffic wardens and community support officers (5%), other contracted and staff (1%) and special constables (1%).