Police receive 100 complaints a day from public, figures reveal

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Police are receiving nearly 100 complaints from members of the public every day, new figures show.

Forces in England and Wales logged 34,103 complaints in 2016/17 - a similar number to the previous year when 34,247 were recorded.

The figures relate to reports made about the alleged conduct of police personnel including officers and civilian staff, as well as grievances raised about how a force is being run.

Complaints can involve multiple allegations and 63,752 claims were attached to the cases recorded in the latest year - a 1% dip on 2015/16.

The statistics, published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), show that in 2016/17:

::Nearly 8,000 allegations were recorded in the "incivility, impoliteness and intolerance" category;

::There were 3,531 allegations of "oppressive conduct or harassment", accounting for 6% of the overall number;

::Sexual assault and serious non-sexual assault allegations totalled 132 and 302 respectively - both less than 1% of the total number;

::The "other neglect or failure in duty" bracket had the highest number of allegations, with 23,666, or more than a third of the total;

::Allegation rates across police forces ranged from 133 to 512 per 1,000 employees;

::There were falls and rises in complaint numbers across forces, ranging from a 60% spike to a decrease of 31%;

::Of the allegations finalised over the year, 44% prompted investigations, 42% were dealt with through less formal "local resolutions", while the remaining claims were withdrawn, discontinued or subject to other processes.

Data about the outcomes of investigations is not included in the report.

The IPCC raised concerns about inconsistencies in the approach to handling complaints from members of the public, warning that there is a "great deal of variation" between forces both in the number of complaints and the way they are handled.

Dame Anne Owers, chair of the watchdog, said: "The public need to have a high level of confidence in the police complaints system. If they complain about their local police force they should be assured that it will be dealt with robustly and fairly.

"The current system is extremely complex and bureaucratic and this has led to some of the inconsistencies we have recorded year on year.

"It is also not sufficiently independent, since some dissatisfied complainants can only appeal to the force that rejected their complaint in the first place."

The complaints system is currently being overhauled, including measures to give police and crime commissioners a greater role in the process.

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