Investigate all complaints independently, Police Federation urges

02 February 2015

All complaints about police officers should be dealt with by a new independent body, the Police Federation has warned.

Alex Duncan, professional standards lead, Police Federation of England and Wales, said the rise in complaints as published today by the Independent Police Complaints Commission showed that forces under severe financial pressure should not also be responsible for investigating their own officers.

He added that the rise was most likely due to an increased ease in making complaints and public confidence in police investigating them properly.

The statistics published today, 2 February, showed that a total of 34,683 complaints were recorded against police officers during 2013/14 - an increase of 15 per cent on the previous year.

Mr Duncan said: ‘The rise in complaints is probably to do with the increased ease of making complaints combined with an increased confidence that the police will deal with their complaint effectively and efficiently.

‘The biggest rise is due to incivility and neglect of duty and while there is no excuse for this, there are far fewer officers with far more to do and unfortunately overworked and exhausted people are often less tolerant and understanding. The demand on Professional Standards Departments continues to increase but their budgets have been top sliced to pay for an enlarged IPCC.

‘In the current environment, police forces should not be expected to investigate complaints against their own officers. As we have been saying for years, the IPCC or, ideally, a successor body should be dealing with all complaints independently. Apart from anything else, this would help ensure more consistency across forces which is lacking currently – this is one of the most concerning aspects of the issue.’