Allegations from public against police in Scotland increase 13%
THE number of allegations made against police officers increased by 13 per cent last year, according to a report by the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland.
A total of 7,933 allegations, contained within 4,379 complaint cases, were received by the country’s eight forces between 1 April 2011 and 31 March this year, compared with 7,009 during the same period the previous year.
There was also a 4 per cent rise in complaint cases, which were up from 4,206 in 2010-11, statistics showed.
One complaint case can involve a number of allegations.
The report, Police Complaints: Statistics for Scotland 2011-12, which is published today, said the most common (36.9 per cent) type of allegations disposed of were in the “irregular procedure” category, where it is thought officers have not carried out their duty well.
Incivility, where an officer is seen to have acted in a rude manner, made up 15.3 per cent of the complaint allegations disposed of during the period.
A further 11.6 per cent of the disposed-of allegations were “neglect of duty”, which relates to officers who are said to have failed to perform a duty, such as submitting a report following an investigation.
While the total number of complaints was up, cases referred to the area procurator fiscal fell to 479 last year from 649 the period before, a drop of 26.2 per cent.
In 2011-12, 152 allegations resulted in misconduct proceedings against the officer or officers involved, and a further 29 led to criminal convictions.
Scotland’s largest force, Strathclyde, received almost a third (31.2 per cent) of all complaints, despite serving 42.2 per cent of the population.
It actually had the lowest proportion per head, with 6.1 cases per 10,000 people, compared with Tayside Police, which had 11.4 per 10,000 – the highest off all the forces.
The average number of cases for the whole of Scotland is 8.4 per 10,000 population.
Northern Constabulary had the most (734.9) on-duty complaints per 1,000 officers.
Strathclyde again received the fewest, with 225.1 complaints per 1,000, the report said.
Professor John McNeill, police complaints commissioner for Scotland, said: “While it is disappointing that both cases and allegations increased this year, I am happy that the longer term picture remains one of declining numbers of complaints about the police in Scotland.
“Reasonable people understand that the police face challenging circumstances daily and inevitably they will sometimes get it wrong.
“What is important is that the public has a route to voice their complaints and that police have a framework in place to identify learning and to implement improvements to procedures and practices as a result of complaints received.
“We must now start to visualise how to take best practice within a national police service and apply that across the country.
“My office is already part of a Scottish Government-led project to create the oversight and governance mechanisms we need to hold the single force to account.
“A consistent standard of reporting, recording and handling complaints from the public is central to that.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
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