Complaints against Herts police on the rise

COMPLAINTS against Hertfordshire’s boys in blue rose by more than twice the national average last year, a report has revealed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said 462 people complained about Hertfordshire Constabulary in 2009-10, a rise of 17 per cent from the previous year.

This is more than double the national increase of eight per cent.

A single complaint can comprise of a number of allegations, which increased to 902 from 776, with the three categories of incivility, neglect of duty and assault seeing a steady rise.

Rachel Cerfontyne, IPCC commissioner for Hertfordshire, said: “Last year there was a further increase in the number of people complaining about the police.


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“Prior to the introduction of the IPCC in 2004, the number of people complaining was falling and later research showed only 10 per cent of people who felt like complaining actually did.

“I believe improved confidence in and access to the complaints system has encouraged those who previously were not inclined to complain that making a complaint is worthwhile.

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“The number of ‘rude and late’ complaints highlights the standards expected of the police service and the need to improve how they interact with the public.

“However, while some aspects can be improved without cost, such as through better leadership, smaller police budgets will present a challenge around levels of service and public expectation.

“This will require forces to develop an open dialogue with the public.”

Nationally complaints rose 8 per cent to 22, 854 and the most common aspects of policing that people took issue with were allegations about incivility or neglecting duties, also known as ‘rude and late’.

A spokesman for Herts police said: “We take the results of the IPCC report seriously, especially as it covers the period when the Professional Standards Department, which handles complaints, was combined with Bedfordshire’s as part of our ongoing collaboration programme.

“The report also notes the fact that Hertfordshire Constabulary has a rate of complaints per police officer that is below the national average.

“The public rightly expects high standards service from Hertfordshire Constabulary and we are committed to maintaining our levels of professionalism during a period when we are being asked to do more with fewer resources available.”

There was also a rise in Bedfordshire however it was not at the same level.

Complaints rose by seven per cent against Bedfordshire Police and allegations increased to 561 from 527.

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