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Increase in complaints against UK police

ALARM: Many of these complaints are associated with the police's use of force. (Photo credit: Creative commons)

RESEARCH HAS revealed last year’s trend in police complaints across England and Wales.

Security experts, have unveiled data from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to reveal the number of police complaints in England and Wales, 2016-17.

These complaints, made by members of the public, relate to the conduct of people serving with the police, or to the direction and control (how the force is run) of a police force. found forces recorded a total of 34,103 complaint cases in 2016-17.

The forces with the highest number of complaint cases, include Metropolitan (5,836), West Yorkshire (2,167) and Greater Manchester (1,537.) Alternately, the lowest complaint cases can be seen in Cumbria (307), Gwent (287) and Dyfed-Powys, Wales (274.) Further, a complaint case may have more than one allegation attached to it.

During 2016-17, a total of 63,752 allegations toward the police were recorded, a 1% decrease compared to the previous year. This amounted to 279 allegations per 1,000 employees across all forces, compared to 276 in 2015- 16.


The most common allegation, accounting for 37%, was recorded under the ‘other neglect or failure in duty’ category. Other claims included: Incivility, impoliteness and intolerance (12%), other assault (8%), oppressive conduct or harassment (6%), lack of fairness and impartiality (5%) and other categories (32%).

The overall trend in complaints recorded from 2015- 16 to 2016-17, highlights where complaints are rapidly on the rise, with Warwickshire suffering an alarming 60% upsurge in complaints associated with their force. Followed by stark increases in Humberside (44%) and West Mercia (44%.)

By contrast, complaints fell by -31% in Nottinghamshire, the lowest decline recorded, followed by drops in Cleveland (-25%) and the West Midlands (-24%.)


Analysis of the data also revealed most complainants were men (20,724 – 60%), which has been the same case every year since 2004/05. Almost half of complainants were known to be white (16,751).

However, the ethnicity of 40% (13,590) of complainants was either not stated or unknown.

The most common age groups to complain about the police, in 2016-17 (where age is known) were those aged 40 to 49 years (6,385 – 19%) and those aged 30 to 39 years (6,198 – 18%.)

The people who least commonly complained were aged 17 or under (263 – 1%.) The age of 25% of complainants (8,553) was unknown.

Managing director of Locksmithservice, Victor Baron comments: “The exposed research is certainly interesting and may indicate that systematic change is needed. Obviously, there are many variables to consider – but, at the root of it, communication between the police and the public needs to be strengthened and supported to ensure trust and public safety at all times.”

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