Statistics of police conduct complaints in different categories
The police conduct related complaints of some members of the public are handled by two organizations, the Police Forces and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Majority of the complaints are handled by the Police Forces themselves while the most serious and sensitive cases are handled by the IOPC. In the most recent report of IOPC for the year 2017/18, a total of 31,671 complaint cases have been recorded by the Police forces. Those cases have been categorized as follows:
Neglect or failure in duty consisting the 39% of the cases
Incivility, impoliteness, and intolerance consisting the 12% of the cases
Other assault consisting the 7% of the cases
Lack of fairness and impartiality consisting the 5% of the cases
Other irregularity in procedure consisting the 5% of the cases
All other categories consisting the 32% of the cases
categorization showed that the top two complaints against the Police forces are
coming from Neglect or failure in duty category consisting the 39% of the total
cases and from Incivility, impoliteness, and intolerance category consisting
the 12% of the cases. According to the Home
Office Guidance (2020),
“When deciding if a police officer has neglected his or her duties all of the circumstances should be taken into account. Police officers have wide discretion and may have to prioritise the demands on their time and resources. This may involve leaving a task to do a different one, which in their judgement is more important. This is accepted and in many cases essential for good policing.”
Although there is a wide
discretion as to the prioritisation of cases which demands the police officers’
time and resources, it is still subject to severity assessment. The high
complaint case on Neglect or failure in duty may have rooted from the lack of public
confidence in terms of keeping someone informed of their cases on promised time
or failing to investigate someone’s crime properly. The second top complaint on
the other hand may reflect that the public have received treatment without
respect and courtesy as well as without self-control and tolerance.
The categorization of the complaint cases matters so that the Police force can directly point out where most complaints are coming from and they can effectively improve their services to gain the higher confidence of the public.
This article was prepared by the Association Against Abuse of Police Powers and Privileges (AAAPPP), a UK not-for-profit organisation specializing in assisting victims of abuse of power and corruption in the UK Police.
AAAPPP Ltd. is Association Against Abuse of Police Powers and Privileges.
Openness benefits the justice just like dark and silence benefit the corruption. At the heart of policing is the term of accountability which is nothing but ability to justify operational decisions of decision makers in public. As AAAPPP is targeting corruption and bad faith in decision making processes of police forces, the most efficient way to achieve that purpose is to engage the power of the word: much future wrongdoing can be avoided by the highlighting the previous cases and their outcomes, as when there is wide understanding that the wrong does not pay back, the wrong will find lesser and lesser ‘habitat’ to exist in police forces. The primary ‘habitat’ of the wrongdoing / misconduct is the minds of the police officers, whose ‘army’ in the UK consists of 130,000 people with their own personal situations, emotional state and depth of understanding of ethics. Addressing these minds is much more efficient than actual fighting of the existent wrongdoing itself, which, of course, remains a bright purpose by itself as well.
At the same time, working with the power of the word is dealing with a big power, which must be done in a wise manner and with proper diligence. Gradualness and conservatism in applying the power of publicity is the fundamental principle of AAAPPP in dealing with the principle of openness. Three main stages will be recognized as part of that approach by AAAPPP, which are:
i) The desire to resolve every issue n a proper way without publicity and in accordance with proper guidelines, the Code of Ethics and National Decisions Model.
ii) An anonymized publication of the results of any successfully solved case; OR
iii) A non-anonymized publication of any unresolved case in which a police force had refused to act in accordance with the Code of Ethics and caused AAAPPP to unfold the whole arsenal of its instruments in pursuing the justice.
The third stage is ‘the last resort’ which will be activated only when all the rest options are exhausted.
Make the system work
AAAPPP recognizes that the UK’s legislation has a very well thought system of safeguards, which is being continuously developed. The main risk of any developed system of safeguards is failures, incompetence and bad faith of decision makers exercising powers when implementing those safeguards. AAAPPP is not a political organization, but it will focus on enforcement of the legislation’s safeguards being a powerful instrument of members of civil society of the UK. Only maintenance of a high watermark on the side of decision makers can allow legislation to work in full power and to its deepest purposes. On the other hand, lack of existence of the high standards of integrity of decision makers will always undermine any efforts of the public in enforcing the public interest and justice. That is the case where the strength of a team is equal to the strength of the weakest player of it.
One of the challenges which the UK system of justice has is that those operational decision makers in police forces who are entitled to ‘rule the game’ today, due to the accumulated years of work, started their careers when the perception of standards was much different - 20 or even 30 years ago. Pursuing and reminding the modern way of perception of those standards for those ‘stuck in the past’ is one of the goals of AAAPPP.
Justice for all
One of the main manifestation of bad faith in the work of police forces is considered by AAAPPP to be existence of double standards where members of police forces are served with double-faced approach aimed to bent the practice from what is being stated by the forces publicly. It is one thing to announce publicly that the forces are not tolerable to corruption, it is another thing to pursue that principle with proper diligence in practice.
AAAPPP is not a ‘punishment organization’ targeting to troll or hurt police forces as much as possible, but it will always defend the rights of those affected by injustice and fight for appropriate financial compensations for those who are served unfairly and with abuse of power of the state.
Powerful and coordinated response
Police forces are well established, financed and coordinated internally. Those affected by abuse of power are, in most cases, left one to one when opposing powerful malice and corruption, having neither knowledge of their rights nor resources and, often, readiness to stand for their rights. This situation gives birth to perception of certain level of impunity for those police officers who know how the system works and, even worse – may have ‘the right connections’ and ‘certain respect from the right people’.
Such state of things is a lucrative precursor for abuse of power to happen: understanding and belief into impunity gives birth to the wrongdoing which otherwise could be avoided. The corruption starts in the minds of police officers when they feel lack of accountability and the risks of wrongful conduct. Once started, it will always develop into a vicious cycle of new and opposing the public interest.
AAAPPP will pursue justice through the principle of openness and with gradualness but without a desire to cause pressure on police forces just for the sake of it