Postcode lottery on how police complaints are handled nationally amid news that complaints risen by four per cent in Cambridgeshire

Complaints about police must be dealt with robustly says independent report.

Complaints about police must be dealt with robustly says independent report. - Credit: Archant

Complaints about police in Cambridgeshire have risen by four per cent according to a report that says it is a postcode lottery on how they are handled.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) show that 34,103 complaints were recorded across Britain in the last year, however, there is “a great deal of variation between forces”, both in the number of complaints and the way they are handled.

In Cambridgeshire there were 383 recorded complaints - a four per cent increase on last year.

Dame Anne Owers, Independent Police Complaints Commission chairman (IPCC), said: “The public need to have a high level of confidence in the police complaints system.

“If they complain about their local police force they should be assured that it will be dealt with robustly and fairly.

“The current system is extremely complex and bureaucratic and this has led to some of the inconsistencies we have recorded year on year.

“It is also not sufficiently independent, since some dissatisfied complainants can only appeal to the force that rejected their complaint in the first place.

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“While some local variation is unavoidable, it is clear some forces need to look closely at their own performance and approach, where it is clearly at odds with the norm.

“It is welcome that some forces have done this during last year, sometimes with the assistance of our own oversight team.

“The new system will be simpler and more flexible, and will also provide an independent appeal right for everyone, either to the IPCC or to a Police and Crime Commissioner.

“This is welcome, but we will still need to ensure that complainants throughout the country can be assured that their complaints will be handled appropriately and thoroughly.”

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