THE number of complaints against Cleveland police fell last year, despite a sharp rise nationally.
Complaints against the force decreased by six per cent to 454 in 2013/14, compared to an average increase of 15 per cent for England and Wales, according to statistics issued by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
However, a complaint case may have one or more allegations attached to it and a total of 887 allegations were made against Cleveland Police last year, an average of 436 per 1,000 employees, compared to national average of 251 for all forces in England and Wales.
The IPCC upheld nine of 14 appeals where people were unhappy that Cleveland had not recorded their complaint, and 16 of 41 appeals from people unhappy with the investigation.
Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer, who is National Policing Lead for Professional Standards, said: “We police by public consent, so it is always disappointing when somebody is unhappy with the service they have received.
“We take complaints very seriously and will always listen to and take heed of those who come forward to report any dissatisfaction.
“The Home Office is currently consulting on a review into the way that complaints are handled.
“We welcome any recommendations that help us to improve our service to the public”
Durham Constabulary saw the number of complaints rise by 26 per cent to 303 in 2013/14.
The IPCC said some of the increase in 2013/14 was down to changes in the definition of a complaint.
A total of 463 allegations were made against Durham Constabulary, an average of 174 per 1,000 staff.
Forty-six of appeals against the force were upheld by the IPCC, compared with just five per cent for those considered by the force itself.
Superintendent Darren Ellis, of the force’s Professional Standards and Legal Services department, said: “Although the percentage of complaints had risen for Durham, this is based on relatively low figures in the first instance, which makes the increase seem higher than it might have otherwise.
“We remain the third lowest force for officers and staff receiving complaints across all 43 forces in the UK; testament to the culture and the professional approach of our staff.
“The increase can be put down to some key factors; the force now considers organisational complaints within the complaints statistics; there is improved accessibility for people to be able to make a complaint and have confidence in doing so; and, as an organisation we have become more robust and complaint focused in order to identify where service delivery needs to improve.
“Yes, we are getting more complaints, however we are dealing with them faster and understanding them better.”