Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Police complaints rise

Complaints against the police rose in Hertfordshire and to a lesser extent in Bedfordshire in 2009-10, a report has revealed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said 462 people complained about Hertfordshire Police, a 17% increase on the previous year.

This is more than twice the national increase of 8%. A 7% rise occurred in Bedfordshire, where 352 complained.

The IPCC said it attributed the rise to improved confidence among the public.

Each complaint can contain a number of allegations, it added.

Allegations against Hertfordshire Police increased in the past year from 776 to 902, with the three categories of incivility, neglect of duty and assault seeing a steady rise.

In Bedfordshire, allegations increased to 561 from 527, with the three key categories showing small increases.

'Rude and late'

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "Prior to the introduction of the IPCC in 2004, the number of people complaining was falling and later research showed only 10% of people who felt like complaining actually did.

"I believe improved confidence in and access to the complaints system 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."

Nationally the most common aspect of policing that people complained about remained the same as in previous years, with nearly 50% of allegations about incivility or neglecting duties - also known as "rude and late".

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