I’ve got a complaint…

Independent Police Complaints Commission

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So have many others, apparently…

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) have produced their annual report on grievances recorded against police forces.

The statistics obviously cover all the forces however; Durham Constabulary, Cleveland Constabulary, Northumbria Police and North Yorkshire police have all seen an increase during 2009-10.

Rise in complaints against police officers (The Northern Echo): POLICE forces in the North-East have seen a rise in the number of complaints against their officers, it has been revealed… (Read more)

I have to wonder whether or not the high levels of social deprivation, single-parent families, high levels of unemployment, alcohol / substance abuse etc have an impact upon these regional figures?

Len Jackson, the interim Chair of the IPCC said;  “Last year there was a further increase in the number of people complaining about the police.” A highly expected comment I suppose, given the increased ease in which complaints can be lodged these days, that and the fact the IPCC have a vested interest in any increase, if only to support their existence and raison d’être. In their recent press release (see here) Jackson was also quoted as saying;

“Prior to the introduction of the IPCC in 2004, the number of people complaining was falling and later research showed only 10% of people who felt like complaining actually did. I believe improved confidence and access has encouraged those who previously were not inclined to complain that making a complaint is worthwhile.”

For some time now, the highest number of complaints have related to incivility and response times, or ‘rude and late’ as the IPCC prefer to call them. They say that the issue simply highlights the “standards expected of the police service and the need to improve how they interact with the public.”

It’s good to see the IPCC acknowledge a problem many of us have know about for years i.e. “better leadership” is required however, the financial constraints of today are likely to have negative impacts on the future.

Smaller police budgets will inevitably lead to an increase in response times,. Overworked officers in understaffed areas and departments, against a backdrop of increased public expectations of service delivery, is hardly conducive to harmony between customer and service deliverer.

Since the IPCC was established by the Police Reform Act, and became operational in April 2004, there has always been debate around the term; ‘in the public interest’. One of the reasons for them instigating many of their witch hunts investigations. For a long time my suspicion has been, many of their investigations are born out of a desire to meet statistical targets, like so many other public sector agencies.

Police Inspector Blog: Police Rudeness Complaints SHOCK! – You want to see rudeness? Try being a Public Servant in modern Britain. Nurses, Teachers, Paramedics, they all have to suffer constant abuse and hectoring from the public… (Read more)

There will undoubtedly be increased friction between the warring factions which in turn will lead to greater levels of complaint; irrespective of better and more open dialogue with the public. A factor that is also indicative of the blame culture in our society. Add the fact that, so many people expect someone else to sort out their problems these days, and you start to see the forthcoming issues.

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 03-03-2011, in Leadership & Management, Police, Public Service Babble, Society Babble and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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