Complaints against Northamptonshire Police up by nine percent year on year, according to watchdog’s new figures

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A total of 473 complaints were made against Northamptonshire Police over a 12-month period in 2015/16, an increase of nine percent on the previous year, according to new figures.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed today that 52 percent of those complaints were investigated and 37 percent were dealt with through “local resolution” rather than being referred to the national body.

The total number of appeals made by dissatisfied complainants was 75, a decrease of six percent. Of those appeals, nine were upheld.

While highlighting the figures in Northamptonshire, the IPCC said nationally there was little consistency with the way different forces handled complaints.

IPCC chair Dame Anne Owers said: “We know that the police complaints system is over-complex and over-bureaucratic, and that is part of the reason for the inconsistencies between forces.

“Forces can deal with complaints informally through local resolution, but if complaints are so serious that they could result in disciplinary action, they have to formally investigate them. Some forces choose local resolution in over 70% of cases; others investigate over 70%. It is very unlikely that the profile of cases among forces varies so widely; so this appears to be a postcode lottery.

“When complainants are dissatisfied with a local police investigation, they can appeal. Some of these appeals are dealt with by the force itself; others come to the IPCC. We have previously expressed concerns about forces marking their own homework. Overall, the IPCC is twice as likely to uphold an appeal as local forces. Ten forces never upheld an investigation appeal.

“We welcome the fact that the Policing and Crime Bill currently before Parliament responds to many of our concerns. It seeks to simplify the system and make it more accessible, and crucially provides independent review of all local police complaint investigations, through either Police and Crime Commissioners or the IPCC.”

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