Police Federation

Less than one per cent of public complaints result in dismissals

Conduct and performance lead says small minority should not taint reputation of police service.


6 June 2022

Conduct and Performance Lead Phill Matthews

Conduct and Performance Lead Phill Matthews

Less than one per cent of public complaints against police last year resulted in dismissals.

Police misconduct statistics, published by the Home Office, revealed there were 14,393 public complaints in the year ending 31 March 2021.

No action was taken in 92 per cent of these cases and only one per cent were referred to proceedings. Sixty-eight officers were dismissed.

The majority of dismissals followed internal reporting, with 84 per cent of the 432 dismissals last year being reported by witnesses within the service.

PFEW Conduct and Performance Lead Phill Matthews said: “These figures demonstrate that only a very tiny number of public complaints end with an officer having to be dismissed, despite what the public and press would have you believe.

“The number of officers who have been dismissed represents an incredibly small percentage of police officers and most officers come into the police service to protect the public and act with integrity and respect.

“A large percentage of those dismissed are often brought about by other officers bringing the information to light rather than as a result of any public complaints. The police service is very good at uncovering those that don’t deserve to be in the job.

“Whilst I absolutely condemn dishonest or inappropriate behaviour, a small minority should not taint the reputation of our incredible police service, the overwhelming majority of officers work tirelessly with dedication and professionalism under extremely demanding circumstances to keep us safe.

“However, I am disappointed with the low uptake and use of Reflective Practice.

“Many complaints do not justify formal disciplinary or criminal proceedings, so this is an efficient way of ensuring officers are not dragged through lengthy and incredibly stressful investigations and are given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. The process also gives managers the confidence to rapidly deal with lower-level issues in a much more proportionate and sensible manner, without involvement from their PSD.

“We hope all senior and chief officers will continue to support the fairer process to make a real and long-lasting difference to our members and the public we all serve."

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