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Police Misconduct – The Culture

Last updated on October 7th, 2023 at 04:31 pm

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For years I seem to have avoided writing very much about Police Misconduct, at least as the main topic.  I’ll be perfectly honest, the last few months or so I have become increasingly vexed by the number of Keyboard Warriors on Social Media, mainly that Twatter, who are constantly banging on about the ‘Cultures’ of Misogyny, Racism, Rapists, Murderers and vile Wassappers, so I have given in and decided to take a dive into the murky topic that is  Police Misconduct – The Culture

The Workforce

The most recent figures for Police Misconduct cover the 2021/22 year.  For that reason I have used the 2021/22 Workforce figures throughout.  At the end of March 2022 there were 140,228 Police Officers in total in the 43 Forces of England and Wales (not inc BTP).

The Complaints

During the 2021/22 year the 140,228 officers of England and Wales received between them 48,979 complaints, entailing 115,235 separate allegations.   In very rough, approximate figures that’s approximately 1 complaint per 3 officers in a year.  Even counting the allegations, it’s less than 1 per officer per year.  It is important to note that those figures only relate to Complaints made, not the outcomes.

Looking at Fig 1, we can see what kind of things were complained about, using the IOPC Complaint categories.

Police Misconduct - The Culture
Fig 1

Looking at the top of the chart it is maybe not surprising that Delivery of Duties and Service is the most prolific.  In fact I’m not really surprised by any of the top 3 categories.

However, if we move our attention to the bottom of the chart, we find that Sexual Conduct ranks lowest with only 214 allegations between 140,228 officers in a whole year.

I am in no way saying that there is an ‘acceptable quota’, there shouldn’t be ANY allegations of this nature.   However, Policing is hardly the slimy cesspit of deviants that some observers would have us believe.

Once again. that is 214 allegations.

If we assume, hypothetically, that the 214 allegations are all single allegations against 214 different officers, that would equate to 0.15% of the workforce.  Compare that to the House of Commons, and other occupations, and in no way does it suggest a Police Service swarming with sexual miscreants.

You can have your own opinion about the other categories, but at its very worst, that equates to 0.8 allegations per officer per year, or less than 0.4 Complaints per officer per year.

You can call me biased (I’ve been called worse) but  overall I don’t think those figures are really bad.  Less than perfect obviously, but I would happily hold them up against any other similar sized organisation.

The Outcomes

The outcomes are not quite so simple to summaries because the reported stats relate to Complaints which were finalised in 2021/22 and not necessarily allegations made that year.  However, I have no reason to believe that are nothing less than typical.

Police Misconduct - The Culture
Fig 2

My Conclusion

Out of the 86,353 allegations where the Outcome is known, 76,926 (89%) Required No Further Action.  I really don’t think that I need say any more, other than, as I have said before, Policing is NOT perfect, but it certainly looks a lot healthier than many would have us believe, and those figures (Home Office, not mine) really should give the British Public back their confidence that so many seem keen to destroy.  Based on the above figures I would dare to suggest that there probably isn’t a Culture of Misconduct in the Police Service of England and Wales.

Not my figures, not my charts, both ‘official’ Home Office


All of the figures in the this post originate from an official Home Office publication

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2 thoughts on “Police Misconduct – The Culture”

  1. Thank you for doing this, wouldn’t it be good for the Commissioner and other Chief Constables or even the Fed 😳 to stand up to the press and shout these figures back at the agenda against the police. Can you imagine if every time they came up with the same allegation of murder, sexual attacks etc a senior officer said what you’d said. “Unacceptable, but the vast a majority of officers haven’t received complaints like that and once they’ve been dealt with challenge them in current figures.”

    I’m heartily sick of reading or seeing the same few cases, which I accept are bad but have been dealt with, raised again and again to beat the police into submission of some greater plan and I want the management to shout this back until their sick of being proved wrong.

    1. No problem Chris, you’re welcome. You can imagine how vexed I get by the constant onslaught. Yes, there is room to improve, there always is everywhere. The total looks like a big number, but not when it’s put in context. Context is something that doesn’t suit everybody unfortunately, swerves their narrative. We can but try

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