County force sees rise in complaints

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NORFOLK police will run workshops for staff after above average increases in complaints.

Figures published last Thursday by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for 2010/11 revealed complaints against Norfolk police were up six per cent over 2009/10 while they were down four per cent nationally and 20 per cent in Suffolk.

The IPCC said Norfolk Police recorded 550 complaints, compared with 518 in 2009/10. The number of allegations in the complaints was 636, up from 622. Norfolk finalised 472 complaints in an average of 94 working days, compared to a national average of 107 days.

The IPCC upheld 10 of 16 appeals, or 63 per cent, against Norfolk Police for not initially recording complaints. Nationally 58 per cent were upheld.

Suffolk recorded 336 complaints compared with 418 in 2009/10 with the number of allegations down by 305 to 562. The IPCC upheld three of 10 appeals for non-recording of complaints, or 30 per cent.

A Norfolk police spokesman said: “While a slight rise in complaint numbers is always disappointing it does not indicate a long term rising trend.

“Ongoing training and guidance is given to staff to further improve our customer service and satisfaction.

“Next year this will include a series of workshops for officers around the specific issue of ‘neglect of duty’ in response to a rise in complaints in this area.”

Chf Insp Kim Warner, of Suffolk Police’s professional standards department, said: “We have introduced a process whereby contact is made with members of the public who have a grievance, but have not yet made a formal complaint. We are then able to establish what we can do to recover the service and deal with the issue before it escalates.”