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Friday, 28 November 2014

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32 per cent rise in complaints against Cumbria police

Nearly 400 complaints were made against Cumbria Police, new figures have revealed.

Bernard Lawson photo
Bernard Lawson

The number of allegations against the force increased by nearly 32 per cent between November 2012 and 2013.

There were 397 complaint allegations up to last November compared with 302 during the previous period, according to a report due before Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner’s executive board tomorrow.

The highest number of complaints came in March last year when 50 allegations were made. This was followed by 43 in July and 36 in June and August.

But the numbers fell to between 27 and 18 in September, October and November.

The most common type of allegations were unprofessional conduct and oppressive behaviour. Incivility, which was the main cause for raised figures during the end of 2012, also showed an increase in November 2013 and will be monitored.

Two allegations of discriminatory behaviour, involving racism towards offenders on arrest, by the police were also recorded. One was not upheld while the other is still under investigation.

In the report, by temporary Chief Constable Bernard Lawson, he says last year’s rise in overall complaints is partly down to better recording of complaints. “There was an increased drive to record complaint allegations following IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) comments that increases indicate a higher level of public confidence in the police,” he adds.

He also says the soaring number of allegations of unprofessional behaviour are partly down to a change in the role of the complaints manager and may affect trends over the coming months.

Meanwhile the report shows that most complaints in 2013 were made in the west division with 156, followed by the north with 124.

The force received 36 appeals between November 2012-13 of which 15 are still live, three were upheld, 16 were not upheld, and two were withdrawn. IPCC appeals for the same period show 38 were submitted with four still active, 17 upheld, 15 not upheld and two not valid.

The report also says the IPCC has responded positively to the percentage of cases the constabulary has successfully resolved itself. It concludes that under-reporting remains an issue and work to improve this is ongoing.

Some incidents were identified through logs and Health and Safety forms.

But Mr Lawson adds: “The fact that there has been more reporting is a positive sign and allows the constabulary to identify relevant issues and trends.”

Cumbria police say they will respond to the report at tomorrow’s meeting.

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