THE number of complaints against the police in the region have risen, according to new figures.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has revealed that Northumbria Police experienced an increase in complaints from the public for 2011-12.
The police watchdog announced there were 680 recorded against the Northumbria force during the reported 12-month period.
The figures show the grievances contained 1,416 allegations, 194 appeals to the IPCC about the force’s handling of complaints.
The appeals included 119 about the way the force dealt with a complaint investigation, 22 about complaints resolved locally, and a further 53 about failure to record a complaint.
The IPCC completed 146 appeals, upholding 78 – 53 per cent –which is higher than the 38 per cent result for England and Wales.
Northumbria Police deputy chief constable Mark Gilmore said: “We are constantly working to ensure that people have the confidence to report problems and the mechanisms are in place to make sure their voices are heard.
“While there is always room for improvement, the report shows that, in percentage terms, the number of our officers who are complained about is less than the national average.
“Indeed the latest IPCC figures confirm that it is continuing to fall.
“The key challenge that the report identified was the need to reduce the number of appeals made by members of the public which were upheld by the IPCC.
“This usually is as a result of members of the public being unhappy about the way their complaint has been handled.
“We took this matter very seriously and improved our training and guidance, resulting in an improvement in this area.
“This improvement is reflected in the latest IPCC figures currently published on its website.
“The public quite rightly expects Northumbria Police officers and staff to behave with the highest standards of professionalism.
“Where that behaviour falls short, we have an open and transparent complaints procedure through which people can tell us where we have gone wrong and we can hopefully resolve or investigate the matter.”
The IPCC said the total number of complaints against forces in England and Wales fell for the second successive year to 30,143.
However it said it was dealing with an increasing number of appeals from people unhappy with the way their complaints have been handled by forces.
Got to www.ipcc.gov.uk/en/Pages/stats.aspx for more information.