Radio Sandwell Local News

Complaints against West Midlands Police rise

2015-02-03 04:23:58

West Midlands Police

Complaints against West Midlands Police ose by ten per cent last year according to new figures from the police watchdog.

The spike in 2013/14 follows a decrease of 13 per cent the year before, according to new figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The figures also show that the West Midlands force is among the worst in the country at recording complaints in a timely manner.

Forces are expected to record complaints made against them within ten working days, and the average is 80 per cent.

However, West Midlands police only record 65 per cent within ten working days, which makes it one of the worst performing forces in England and Wales.

The annual report by the IPCC shows an increase in complaints at the vast majority of police forces in England and Wales, with 38 forces out of 43 recording a rise.

Across England and Wales the most common complaints involve allegations that an officer has been neglectful or failed in their duty, or that an officer’s behaviour has been uncivil, impolite or intolerant.

A complainant also has the right to appeal about the way in which a police force has handled their complaint.

A total of 48 per cent of appeals from the public against West Midlands Police were upheld by the IPCC, compared with a 17 per cent upheld rate for those considered by the force itself.

The overall uphold rate by police forces in England and Wales is 20 per cent, compared with 46 per cent by the IPCC.

Some of the overall increase is down to the definition of a complaint being broadened beyond an officer's conduct to include ‘direction and control’ matters to do with operational policing.

The report says that while some the increase is down to changes to recording, “the increase also suggests people are less satisfied about their contact with the police than in previous years or they are more willing to complain, or both.”

Dame Anne Owers, the IPCC chair, said: “It is clear from these statistics that forces still struggle to get it right first time, and there are now serious questions about whether they get it right the second time either.

“We will continue to work with them to improve complaints handling. But that is not enough.

“We urgently need radical reforms to the system as a whole, to make it more accessible and straightforward, and to strengthen independent oversight. That is why the current review of the system is welcome and overdue.”

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