Police give response to rise in complaints
CAMBRIDGESHIRE police has pledged to continue to look for improvements in its service following a sharp rise in the number of complaints against officers.
Figures released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) yesterday revealed the number of complaints against the county’s officers climbed by 16 per cent in the 2011/12 financial year, compared to a four per cent decline nationwide.
The number of allegations against Cambridgeshire police officers in the same time period increased by a mammoth 56 per cent, the second highest percentage increase across England and Wales’ 43 police forces.
This figure is counted separately as each complaint may contain more than one allegation.
Cambridgeshire police’s deputy chief constable John Feavyour said: “We continue to look at ways in which the service we offer the public can be improved and the force has invested a great deal in this work.
“The complaints process is an important part of this work and we welcome and encourage both good and bad feedback so changes can be made if necessary. While we are always concerned by bad feedback, the figures do demonstrate people’s willingness and ability to come for- ward, which is a good thing.”
The rise is a cause for concern for North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara.
He said: “These figures which go against the national trend are worrying. I will be arranging to meet the chief constable for Cambridgeshire police to discuss the figures and very much hope that measures are taken to ensure greater public satisfaction and less complaints.”
The IPCC recorded 992 allegations against Cambridgeshire police, a rise from 634 on the previous year.
Of these, just under a third, 311, fell into the category of “other neglect or failure of duty”.
This includes allegations with regard to a lack of conscientiousness and diligence concerning the performance of duties. Other large contributors to the allegation total were “incivility” (204) and “all assaults” (126), of which three were allegations of sexual assault and two were complaints of serious non-sexual assault.
Of the allegations made against its officers, Cambridgeshire police investigated 54 per cent of them and of these about 15 per cent were substantiated.
Some 31 per cent ended in “local resolution”. This usually involves a local police supervisor handling the complaint and agreeing a way forward with the complainant.
Cambridgeshire Police Authority spoke in defence of the constabulary.
A spokeswoman said: “The apparent increase in complaints in Cambridgeshire reflects the rigorous approach to recording complaints taken by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, closely scrutinised by the authority’s People and Professional Standards Committee. We believe that Cambridgeshire’s complaints system has integrity and that the force are particularly proactive in recording and resolving them.”
festive cheer: Youngsters from The College Nursery visiting older residents from Park House Care Home to sing carols.
complaints: DCC John Feavyour.
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