Norfolk Police complaints increase by 19%

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Complaints against the police rose by 19% in Norfolk in 2009-10, a report has revealed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said 518 people complained in the county. Nationally complaints rose by 8%.

A complaint case can contain several allegations. In Norfolk, these rose from 615 to 622, the IPCC said.

The three categories of complaints - incivility, neglect of duty and assault - remained stable, it added.

The number of incivility allegations increased from 107 to 125, while neglect of duty rose from 167 to 205. Together, the categories are known as "rude and late".

There were fewer assault allegations, numbering 75 compared with 80 in 2008-09.

'Need to improve'

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."

Norfolk Police said its number of allegations per 1,000 police personnel was significantly lower than similar-sized police forces and the national average.

The force said it introduced a series of measures to address the increase in complaints through a Performance Investigation Unit, running master classes for officers with recurring complaints and practising stronger management intervention.

Supt Bernadette Cartwright, head of professional standards, said: "We take all complaints seriously as they help us identify where we may have fallen short.

"Whilst we welcome people feeling more confident in making a complaint, it also helps us to identify individual training needs."

Nationally the most common aspect of policing that people complained about remained the same as in previous years, with nearly half of all allegations about incivility or neglecting duties.

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