Police complaints in Suffolk up 32%

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THE number of complaints made against Suffolk Police has leapt by nearly a third, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has revealed.

Complaints over neglect of duty saw the biggest rise, while there was also a steep rise in allegations of incivility from officers. There was some good news, however, with the number of allegations of assaults by police down to 34 compared to 43 in 2008/09.

In total, Suffolk Police recorded 418 complaints during 2009/10 compared to 317 the previous year, a rise of 32 per cent. Those complaints included 867 allegations compared to 476 in the previous year.

Suffolk recorded 337 allegations of neglect of duty compared to 132 in 2008/09, and 148 allegations of neglect of duty, compared to 132 the previous year.

Nationally, the IPCC saw an eight per cent increase in complaints against police, with nearly half of those allegations being about officers being rude of neglecting their duty.

Rachel Cerfontyne, IPCC Commissioner for Suffolk, said: “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.

“I will raise the complaints figures with Suffolk Police, but it can be difficult to pinpoint any specific reasons for an increase.”

Suffolk Police, meanwhile, say that between April and September 2010 they have seen an 18 per cent fall in complaints from 184 to 168.

Head of Suffolk’s Professional Standards Department Supt Stuart Sedgwick said: “We have worked hard to improve customer satisfaction and this has included bespoke training and a more structured process to seek and utilise feedback. This has contributed to a high measure of public confidence being recorded.”