IPCC publishes police complaint statistics for 2009/10
Feb 24, 2011
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has published information from the police complaints system for 2009/10.
Last year 33,854 complaints about the police in England and Wales were recorded - an 8% increase on the previous year. The most common aspects of policing that people complained about remained the same as in previous years, with nearly 50% of allegations about incivility or neglecting duties - commonly these allegations regard officers being rude or late.
· There were 58,399 allegations recorded in 2009/10, up 8% from the previous year.
· There were 7,348 allegations of assault, 14,983 allegations of neglect or failure and 11,576 allegations of incivility.
· Compared to the previous years the biggest rises in allegations were for improper disclosure of information (15%), other neglect or failure in duty (15%), traffic irregularity (14%) and oppressive conduct or harassment (14%)
· There were 1531 allegations of discriminatory behaviour, down 1% from the previous year.
· Most complainants were white (63%), aged between 40 and 49 (21%), and male (64%)
· It takes on average 90 working days to finalise a complaint case, up five days from the previous year.
· 31,758 complaint cases were finalised during 2009/2010, up 6%.
· There were 4,309 valid appeals completed by the IPCC, up 21%, of which 1,252 (29%) were upheld.
IPCC Interim Chair Len Jackson, said:
"Last year there was a further increase in the number of people complaining about the police. Prior to the introduction of the IPCC in 2004, the number of people complaining was falling and later research showed only 10% of people who felt like complaining actually did. I believe improved confidence and access has encouraged those who previously were not inclined to complain that making a complaint is worthwhile.
"The number of ‘rude and late’ complaints highlights the standards expected of the police service and the need to improve how they interact with the public. However, while some aspects can be improved without cost, such as through better leadership, smaller police budgets will present a challenge around levels of service and public expectation. This will require forces to develop an open dialogue with the public.”
This year the IPCC has introduced a new set of ‘key indicators’ to help identify how well complaints are being handled. The figures include information about the length of time it takes for complaints to be recorded and allegations completed by different types of investigations.
This is initially a nationwide overview but later this year the information will also be published about individual forces quarterly.
Len Jackson, said:
"We have worked with police forces to develop key indicators to help objectively judge how complaints are being handled. We will use them to drive improvements to the complaints system, such as narrowing the extremes in the length of time it takes to finalise an investigation and the number of appeals made.
"The work we are doing with forces driven by the indicators to improve their performance, and legislative measures based on our proposals for a simpler system, will lead to a complaints system more in line with the public’s expectations.”
As in previous years the number of allegations substantiated - where misconduct has been proven - has remained at 10%. Later this year when the 2010/11 complaints statistics are published they will also include the number of ‘upheld’ complaints, which is a category created by the revised statutory guidance the IPCC issued last year.
This shifts the focus of the complaints system from only examining whether misconduct is proven, to one that also recognises that an officer does not have to have done something wrong for a member of the public to have a bad experience.
As well as the statutory guidance the IPCC made proposals to the Home Office to alleviate frustrations a previous review of the system had identified. As a result the Policing Reform and Social Responsibility Bill now includes measures to:
· Widen the definition of a complaint so that the public can complain through one system whether the matter concerns the conduct of an officer, service failure or direction and control.
· Simplify how forces can dispense or discontinue with a complaint.
· Making the grounds on which a complainant can appeal more straightforward.
Notes to editors:
A copy of the full national report can be found here: http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/Pages/stats.aspx
Should you have any queries regarding the content of the report please contact Neil Coyte IPCC Press Office on 020 7166 3978.
An act of parliament that provides the core framework of police powers to combat crime and provide codes of practice for the exercise of these powers.
Leads and manages the development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The body that represents the interests of all police constables, sergeants, and inspectors.
Department within a police force that deals with complaints and conduct matters.
The average is calculated using the individual results of the forces in that most similar force group.
An investigation carried out by IPCC staff.
Carried out by the police under their own direction and control. The IPCC sets the terms of reference and receives the investigation report when it is complete. Complainants have a right of appeal following a supervised investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
This act sets out how the police complaints system operates.
How a police force is run, for example policing standards or policing policy.
An investigation carried out by the police under the direction and control of the IPCC.
An intelligence-led agency with law enforcement powers, it is also responsible for reducing the harm that is caused to people and communities by serious organised crime.
The appropriate authority can be:
- the chief officer of the police force
- the Police and Crime Commissioner responsible for the police force you complained about
- the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (if your complaint is about the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service)
- the Common Council for the City of London (if your complaint is about the Commissioner of the City of London police).
Investigations carried out entirely by the police. Complainants have a right of appeal following a local investigation (unless it is an investigation into a direction and control matter).
A person is adversely affected is he or she suffers any form of loss or damage, distress or inconvenience, if he or she is put in danger or is otherwise unduly put at risk of being adversely affected.
IPCC guidance to the police service and police authorities on the handling of complaints.
Parameters within which an investigation is conducted.
This could be the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Common Council for the City of London, or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime.
A flexible process for dealing with complaints that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant. It may involve, for example, providing information and explanation, an apology, or a meeting between the complainant and the officer complained about.
Consists of a chair, two deputy chairs, and commissioners – each responsible for specific police forces, guardianship work and individual cases.
Disapplication means that a police force may handle a complaint in whatever manner it thinks fit, including not dealing with it under complaints legislation. This may only take place in certain limited circumstances where the complaint fits one or more of the grounds for disapplication set out in law.
The ending of an ongoing investigation into a complaint, conduct matter or DSI matter. An investigation may only be discontinued if it meets one or more of the grounds for discontinuance set out in law.
Used to house anyone who has been detained.
Complainants have the right to appeal to the IPCC if a police force did not record their complaint or notify the correct police force if it was made originally to the wrong force.
The purpose of an investigation is to establish the facts behind a complaint, conduct matter, or DSI matter; and reach conclusions. An investigator looks into a complaint and produces a report that details the outcome of each allegation. There are four types of investigation: local investigation, supervised investigation, managed investigation and independent investigation.
A person who makes a complaint about the conduct of someone serving with the police.
The type of behaviour being complained about. A single complaint case can have one or many allegations attached.
An independent judicial officer, the coroner enquires into deaths reported to him/her.
A record is made of a complaint, giving it formal status as a complaint under the Police Reform Act 2002.
No further action may be taken with regard to a complaint if the complainant decides to retract their allegation(s).
Casework involves assessing appeals. Casework staff also have a role in overseeing the police complaints system to help ensure police forces handle complaints in the best possible way.
The IPCC must be notified about specific types of complaint or incidents to be able to decide how they should be dealt with.
Conduct includes acts, omissions, statements and decisions (whether actual, alleged or inferred). For example: language used and the manner or tone of communications.
An application by a complainant for a police decision to be reviewed.