Trauma of officers under investigation

POLICE officers at the centre of unfounded and malicious complaints can suffer undue stress and trauma, the county's Police Federation chief claimed today.

POLICE officers at the centre of unfounded and malicious complaints can suffer undue stress and trauma, the county's Police Federation chief claimed today.

Jim Keeble spoke following the release of figures under the Freedom of Information Act which revealed that only 52 of the 1,266 complaints reported to the force in the last five years have been substantiated.

Although about half of these complaints would have been resolved by officers at a local level and therefore not investigated and substantiated by the force's professional standard's department, Mr Keeble said some complaints were likely to be false claims.

He said: “People complain for varying different reasons. There is an element that complain because they think that will get them off the hook for what they are alleged to have done or have done. I would call those vexatious complaints and we do get a number of them.


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“It can be hugely traumatic. Officers are suspended sometimes for many months and they feel under huge pressure to prove their innocence.

“They have limited contact with their colleagues and it can change their whole social infrastructure.

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“If an officer is off for a considerable amount if time and is subsequently found not guilty they can lose their confidence in the system and it can become very, very difficult for them.”

As reported in The Evening Star last week, officers in Suffolk have faced misconduct proceedings and court appearances on only a handful of occasions in the last half a decade.

The most serious complaints have been two claims of sexual assault and 291 allegations of other assaults - both the sexual assault claims and four of the other assault complaints were substantiated.

Mr Keeble said officers believed the complaints system should be in place to prevent any corruption within the force but said some officers felt the same rules were not always applied to police complaints as to criminal investigations.

He added: “Providing that officers have faith in the investigation system they feel that the truth will out in the end.”

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