Complaints about police still top 100

The annual number of complaints levelled against Wigan police officers has remained above the 100 mark for the second year running, new figures reveal.

Monday, 16th May 2016, 8:42 am
Updated Monday, 16th May 2016, 10:46 am

Force statistics revealed a jump from 54 to 108 complaints two years ago and the most recent report shows the level has remained at the 100 mark for 2014/15.

But lead officers today said that the number was now at that level because of a more rigorous reporting system.

The complaints include instances where members of the public have accused officers of incivility.

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Police bosses reacted to this increase by “emphasising the code of conduct” to staff.

The results, revealed in a professional standards report from Greater Manchester Police, showed Wigan Division had a similar number of complaints to Trafford (102), Bolton (122) and Stockport (104) although it should be pointed out that officers here cover a larger population than the other two Greater Manchester divisions.

Chief Insp Gareth Hughes told the Wigan Evening Post that the high figures were in part due to a new complaints procedure and the force is “confident” in the standards displayed by officers.

He added: “We are satisfied with the reduction in complaints from 2014 to 2015 and are confident that the actions taken and the standards expected of all officers and staff will continue to contribute to a reduction in overall complaints in the future.

“We have recently switched over to the new policing model, which will allow us to investigate complaints based on specific locations within the Wigan division.

“This will give us a clearer perspective of the areas that have higher numbers of complaints and we will take this opportunity to continue to improve the way we handle complaints.

“Following a review of by the Professional Standards Branch in June 2014, Wigan division undertook work to raise awareness around complaint handling and made significant improvements to the way in which complaints are handled.”

Among the complaints submitted for 2013/14, as previously revealed by the Evening Post, were officers accused of being abusive, rude, aggressive and applying handcuffs too tightly.

Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd introduced a new complaints review system in 2013 to give residents an alternative option to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Mr Lloyd said: “This means people will have access to a speedy and effective complaints resolution process.

“The IPCC is overburdened and under-resourced, which inevitably means it doesn’t do its job as well as it should.

“There are unacceptable delays before legitimate complaints can be resolved.

“The public and the police deserve better and these proposals, which are backed by the Chief Constable, mean that - at least in our region - we can have a complaints process that works.”