Po­lice give re­sponse to rise in com­plaints

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&world Update - By DAVID SEY­MOUR david.sey­mour@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

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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