Police complaints on the rise

COMPLAINTS against Suffolk Constabulary have risen by more than 20 per cent in the last year, it can be revealed today.The amount of recorded complaints has risen by 28 pc although 34 pc of them were found to be unsubstantiated.

COMPLAINTS against Suffolk Constabulary have risen by more than 20 per cent in the last year, it can be revealed today.

The amount of recorded complaints has risen by 28 pc although 34 pc of them were found to be unsubstantiated.

A report by the forces monitoring and audit committee, due to be discussed today at a meeting of Suffolk Police Authority, has shown that there were 12 substantiated complaints in the last year, compared to ten in the previous year.

Overall, 259 complaints were made against the constabulary by 194 complainants.


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A police spokeswoman said that people were actively encouraged to complain if they feel the service does not come up to their expectation.

The Southern Area force, which includes Ipswich, had the most complaints per 1,000 officers with around 302 compared to an average of 194.5.

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This puts the Suffolk force second in the region for the most complaints.

Norfolk came out top with 214.2 complaints and Essex has the least with 157.4 and Cambridgeshire had 179.

Most of the complaints for all sectors focused on neglect and assaults.

In the Southern area, an average of 94.6 complaints of assault by officers were recorded for 2003/4, the most throughout all the sectors, topping last years complaints of 65.

However people upset about incivility of officers have dropped in all areas apart from the operations department where they have risen.

Many of the complaints were informally resolved by the sector or department but 24 were referred to the Police Complaints Authority. Last year 27 were referred.

The force has also received less letters of appreciation in the last 12 months.

In 2002/3 there were 984 letters compared to 893 in 2003/4.

The number of civil claims and misconduct enquiries has also dropped.

Superintendent Roly Wilson, Head of Suffolk's Professional Standards Section said: "We continually strive to find ways to improve the service that we give to the public.

As well as engaging in public consultation through surveys and forums, we also listen to the concerns that are raised by our customers and endeavour to build improvements into the system to address problems as they are brought to

our attention.

"I am pleased to say that last year we received nearly four letters of

appreciation for every complaint. Of all of the 259 complaints received,

more than one third of these were resolved to the mutual satisfaction of

all those involved at a local level. All of the remaining complaints

were thoroughly investigated and 12 were upheld which compares to 10

last year."

n. What do you think? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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