Page last updated at 18:36 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

PSNI complaints rise by a third

PSNI crest

Complaints about police behaviour by the public increased by more than a third last month.

An internal PSNI e-mail sent to all officers, and obtained by the BBC, revealed that there were 298 complaints against the police last month.

That was 32% more than in January and more than 20% up on the same month last year.

The increased use of special anti-terrorism powers is one of the factors cited in complaints.

The e-mail said failure in duty, oppressive behaviour, and incivility were the most frequent allegations highlighted in the complaints.

Police use of special anti-terrorism powers to stop and search people have increased in recent months and that is believed to mirror the rise in complaints.

The tactic is aimed at disrupting the activities of dissident republicans, and many of those stopped are opposed to the police, so are more likely to complain.

The majority of complaints are related to how officers respond to more mundane matters, like dealing with people who have had too much to drink.

In a statement the police service said it views the rise in the number of complaints with concern, and that it is an issue which will be addressed quickly and forcefully.

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