Police complaints in Wigan are mainly dismissed

Around 80 per cent of police complaints in Wigan have been dismissed, according to a Freedom of Information Act request
Around 80 per cent of police complaints in Wigan have been dismissed, according to a Freedom of Information Act request

Around 80 per cent of discrimination complaints made about the borough’s police officers by members of the public have resulted in no action being taken, the Wigan Post has learned.

A Freedom of Information request revealed that out of 15 officers at the centre of public complaints in the last three years, seven were found not to have committed any wrongdoing, while five investigations are still ongoing.

Of these complaints, two third were related to race or ethnicity.

Three officers, involved in one incident, were accused of racist abuse in 2015, but an internal investigation by Greater Manchester Police found there was "no case to answer".

The same verdict was reached in 2016 regarding two complaints over ethnicity and one of unfair behaviour, while five investigations into racial discrimination in 2017 are still being probed.

Out of all the complaints, only three were "locally resolved" - all of which were investigations into disability discrimination.

A "local resolution" is defined as "a flexible process that can be adapted to the needs of the complainant," and is handled at a local management level.

One case of unfair judgement, made against a bobby in 2015, resulted in a disapplication, meaning the complainant withdrew their case.

There were no discrimination complaints made on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, faith/religion or age.

GMP also provided the Post with guidelines on how they conduct internal investigations following complaints from the public.

Every investigation is assessed individually and subject to a severity assessment.

Dependent on this assessment, the matter may be investigated at a criminal or gross misconduct level by Greater Manchester Police or (when referred by GMP) by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (previously the Independent Police Complaints Commission).

Where the assessment suggests the conduct is less serious, or there is no case to answer, the matter may be finalised with management action, written warnings or a not proven decision.

However, every case is a unique set of circumstances and therefore it follows that some investigations will be concluded quickly, while others may be conducted over a protracted length of time.

The fate of each officer in the spotlight is also dependent on the severity of the claims.

The circumstances of the allegations are considered on an individual basis.

In cases where there are serious allegations requiring investigation, officers may be subject to restrictions or suspension.

Sanctions against officers are subject to managerial or discipline panel’s decisions on a case by case basis.

The most severe sanction is dismissal followed by a final written warning.

Other sanctions may be considered dependent on the severity.