[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September, 2003, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
Police complaints rise, says watchdog
Police officer
The increase in complaints has been described as "unprecedented"
The watchdog responsible for dealing with complaints against the police has attacked the high level of disciplinary problems across police forces in England and Wales.

The Police Complaints Authority, due to be replaced by a new body next year, sets out a 5% rise in upheld complaints against officers over two years, in its annual report published on Tuesday.

In the year 2002-2003, more than a quarter of complaints against police, from a total of 3,547, resulted in disciplinary action, the report adds.

PCA officials are disappointed at the high level of complaints nearly two decades after the Police and Criminal Evidence Act - to improve police treatment of suspects - was introduced.

"The rising rate of disciplinary action is significant and unprecedented," said the authority's deputy chairman Ian Bynoe.

"It is likely to result from higher standards of investigation, the lowering of the standard of proof from the criminal to the civil standard for hearings and a better resourced and trained PCA," he added.

Complaints league

"There ought to be greater consistency of decision-making than is shown by some of this data."

Staffordshire topped the table for the highest number of complaints for every 1,000 officers - at 235 complaints. It was followed by North Yorkshire with 207.

At the bottom of the complaints list was Derbyshire at 38 and the City of London Police at 14 - a figure explained by its minimal residential population.

The proportion of upheld complaints varied from 36% in Cambridgeshire, to 3% in Gloucestershire and 7% in Devon and Cornwall.

Black people made nearly 14% of complaints with Asian people making 7%.

Cases of disciplinary action included:

  • A Cambridgeshire family liaison officer who was fined after the family of a murder victim made complaints about the officer taking the family to the wrong murder location, harassing a female relative and making an offensive and racist remark

  • A North Yorkshire police sergeant who was forced to resign after a number of women officers complained about him making offensive and sexual comments

  • An officer who was fined one day's pay after admitting a breach of the code of conduct over a complaint of forceful arrest

The PCA is due to be replaced by the Independent Police Complaints Authority in April.


SEE ALSO:
Inquiry into police shooting
21 Jul 03  |  Gloucestershire
Parents' anger at Deepcut inquiry
05 Sep 03  |  Scotland
Excessive force complaints rise
02 May 03  |  Leicestershire
Police complaints report released
19 Dec 02  |  Scotland


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific