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IPCC figures show rise in complaints about Norfolk and Suffolk police

PUBLISHED: 20:42 25 February 2011 | UPDATED: 20:42 25 February 2011

Complaints by members of the public against Norfolk and Suffolk police increased last year, according to new figures.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said there were 622 complaints against Norfolk police over the last year, up from 615 in the previous year. In Suffolk there were 418 complaints compared with 317.

In Norfolk 125 of these complaints related to incivility, 205 to neglect of duty and 75 alleged assaults. In Suffolk 148 related to incivility, 337 to neglect of duty and 34 to assault.

Nationally complaints rose 8pc to 33,854. Complaints known as “rude and late” – those relating to incivility or neglect of duties – made up 50pc of these.

Rachel Cerfontyne, IPCC commissioner for Norfolk, said: “This year there has been 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 10pc 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.”

Norfolk police has introduced a series of measures to address the increase in complaints through the setting up of a performance investigation unit, running master classes for those officers with recurring complaints and stronger management intervention.

Supt Bernadette Cartwright, head of professional standards at the force, said: “We take all complaints seriously as they help us identify where we may have fallen short. While we welcome people feeling more confident in making a complaint, it also helps us to identify individual training needs. IPCC figures allow us to monitor complaint trends and address those areas for improvement.”

ben.kendall@archant.co.uk


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