Last week we had the keenly awaited report from Uncle Tom’s Flock of Sheep regarding Integrity and Corruption within the Police Service. It clearly didn’t say what a lot of people wanted it to say as it led to some really slanted reporting by the Media. As I pointed out last week, it included nuggets like “Police are committed to tackling Corruption”, “Corruption is not endemic within the Police” and “122 out of 125 previous recommendations have been adopted”. Instead we had headlines such as “Police told to review 2, 000 cases of alleged Corruption”, “Police need to do more to tackle Corruption” and “Hundreds of suspected corrupt police officers evade justice by RETIRING”
I guess Investigation Finds Police Acting With Integrity isn’t much of a headline.
Today we get the IPCC’s version of the situation and are treated to headlines like “Police Complaints at Record High” and “IPCC: Obviously The Figures Are Worrying”. Dame Anne Owers, chair of the IPCC, said that the figures were “obviously worrying”, and also cited concerns that some complaints were not being properly dealt with.
Let me make it clear, I’m not in favour of Complaints being ‘whitewashed’. I don’t believe or pretend that all Police Officers are faultless and all complaints are malicious. Professional Standards Departments are one of the few departments not to have had their budgets slashed. It is incumbent upon them to establish the Guilt or Innocence of all officers who have allegations made against them. Guilt or Innocence.
Apparently there were nearly 35,000 complaints made in 2013/14, some 35% up on the previous year. 35,000 complaints relating to a workforce of 128,000 (ish). One in four assuming that no officer received more than one complaint. Is that so very awful? Not brilliant or desirable, but we’re talking Complaints now, not Corruption. More than one allegation can be included in a complaint “case” and the police watchdog said some of the increase was due to the broadening of the definition of a complaint.
The highest number of complaints were regarding police neglect or failure in duty, followed by complaints about police being rude or intolerant. Neglect or Failure in Duty? At a time when the Police have never been under such immense pressure, increased demands upon Police resources combined with a planned and deliberate reduction in manpower levels. Is that such a great surprise? Less cops, more work to be done. Is it any great surprise that Failure in Duty should be the greatest cause for complaint?
IPCC. The I stands for INDEPENDENT.
How “Independent” is it to state that the increased number of complaints is “Alarming”. Would/Should an Independent Authority not look beyond the headlines for a possible or probable cause? Maybe it’s just too easy to kick the cops and ignore the reasons?
Now for the bits hidden away at the end of the IPCC report and beneath the headlines in the Press.
The 35,000 complaints made resulted in almost 62,000 allegations being made against Police a Officers and Police Staff. Of these 62,000 allegations, less than half of them warranted an Investigation. Of those, less than 4,000 were upheld.
When Society encourages more reporting of anything, unsurprisingly the number (in this case, recorded Complaints) goes up, but less than 4,000 of the 62,000 were substantiated.
So what’s the headline now?
Less Than 4% of Cops Break The Rules
Doesn’t have quite the same impact does it?
Time to stop the witch hunts, report complaints and discipline in a fair and balanced way and establish the TRUTH. I’m sure that’s want the Police and Public both want to hear.
Stop this constant kicking and just be fair and honest.
Incidentally, the figures used in the IPCC Report are very confusing. There are numerous tables at the end, the numbers contained within each table do not seem to tally with each other and no explanation offered. If I have missed something there please do put me right, I’d hate to have misinterpreted the data.