West Yorkshire Police complaints on rise

Complaints against West Yorkshire Police went up by eight per cent last year, new figures reveal.

The number of concerns recorded against the force and its officers between December 2009 and last November increased to 933 from 867.

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Senior officers are now looking into the increase in complaints, which have included more allegations of assaults, neglect of duty and incivility.

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The main types of conduct matters related to discreditable conduct – mostly while off duty – and dereliction of duties and responsibilities.

The three divisions with the most complaints about conduct are Wakefield, Kirklees, and City and Holbeck.

Of the increased assault allegations, more than 20 per cent were about the City and Holbeck division. One case involved a disturbance at a

christening and comprised 14 individual assault allegations.

In the majority of cases those making complaints have been content to have it resolved at a local level, according to the a new report which is to be considered by the West Yorkshire Police Authority audit and risk committee next Friday.

In November 2009, the force's professional standards department, which investigates complaints, introduced new measures in the wake of the Taylor Report on police complaints and conduct.

They involve the immediate allocation of complaints to department investigators rather than being recorded at divisional level. All complainants are contacted, either in person, or by telephone or email, within 24 hours.

The report claims that since the new system was adopted, cases are being resolved more efficiently, with most complaints either being locally resolved, withdrawn or finalised within 30 days.

The report adds that criticisms of the force are increasingly falling into the 'complaint' category – 48 per cent – rather than into a question of 'quality of service'.

But this is blamed on the "robust" recording approach of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Despite the increase in complaints, the figures are low when compared to similar-sized forces.

Complaints against the Greater Manchester force rose by 26 per cent, Merseyside by 14 per cent and South Yorkshire by 11 per cent.

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