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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Cumbria police defend rise in complaints

Police chiefs have defended the record of the Cumbria force after complaints against it rose by nearly a third.

Jerry Graham photo
Jerry Graham

Related: Surge in complaints against Cumbria police

Chief Constable Jerry Graham said the increase worked out at about one extra allegation every three days across a year, pointing out policing was a job that inherently attracted complaints.

It was also stressed figures were declining when looked at across more recent months rather than across the whole year.

A discussion was held among senior crimefighting figures after statistics showed allegations were up by 32 per cent in the last year.

Accusations included unprofessional conduct, malpractice and incivility.

A report to Cumbria’s crime commissioner, Richard Rhodes, said the county scored well when measured against national statistics and a high number of complaints were unsubstantiated.

This report was put under the spotlight at a meeting of Mr Rhodes’ executive board yesterday.

Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said figures for April to June showed a big drop compared to January to March.

There were 513 allegations in the 12 months to July, compared to 388 in the year before.

Mr Graham said: “When investigated, to a large degree, many of these are unsubstantiated. Policing is inherently an occupation that attracts complaints.”

Figures show that complaints of unprofessional conduct drew the highest number of allegations – 234.

The report offered some perspective regarding the numbers, outlining the scale of police work in Cumbria.

It states that during the current 12-month period there had been 121,780 incidents, 23,916 crimes and 17,771 arrests.

Cumbria has the third lowest percentage of allegations upheld nationally.

Only 4.9 per cent of allegations investigated by the force’s professional standards department were upheld.

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