Complaints against Northamptonshire police drop by 30 per cent

COMPLAINTS against Northamptonshire police officers dropped by 30 per cent in 2011/12 the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has announced.

Annual complaints statistics released today (Wednesday) show that in 2011/12 the force recorded 376 complaints against officers, compared with 535 the previous year.

The 30 per cent decrease in complaints is more than three times the national average across England and Wales which saw a nine per cent decrease in complaints.

The figures also show a reduction in the number of allegations contained within the complaints to a five year low. Down from 619 the previous year to 492 this year, representing a 21 per cent reduction compared with the national average which saw an 8 per cent reduction in allegations.

167 allegations were also dealt with by local resolution, meaning 30 per cent were resolved, with the consent of the complainant, by discussion between the complainant and the officer or member of staff involved.

This is often the case with less serious complaints where an explanation is given to resolve misunderstandings, an apology issued where appropriate or information given about what the force is doing.

While the national average for dealing with and finalising complaint cases was 93 working days, the average for Northamptonshire Police was 72 working days.

Chief Inspector Mark Taylor, from the Professional Standards Department, said: “We have worked hard to refine our processes around complaints to firstly make it easier to access the complaints system, and secondly to respond and deal with complaints more effectively.

“We now offer a simple and streamlined option of quick service recovery for all members of the public dissatisfied by our service, this focuses on providing the complainant the outcome they want and how they want to receive it – this is reflected in the improved complaint statistics.”

He added: “We have found that against the national target of recording complaints within 10 working days, Northamptonshire Police ensured 97 per cent were within this time limit compared with the national average of 86 per cent, a year on year increase over the last three years for the force.

“Since August 2011 we have further improved our service by adapting our processes to record complaints in just 24 hours, not the national average of 10 days, as we feel this better meets the needs of our public – this is a significant step for us and our communities.

“Whilst we are pleased with the improved position the force is in, we are aware that further improvements are required, like the number of appeals upheld by the IPCC. We recognise that we still have more to do in achieving our aim of delivering an excellent service to the communities of Northamptonshire.”