Complaints against the PSNI have reduced by 7% in the last 6 months, Members of the Policing Board’s Performance Committee have been told.
The Committee, which monitors trends and patterns in complaints against PSNI and keep informed about claims against the police service, heard from the Police Ombudsman’s Office that 1,489 complaints and 2,486 allegations have been made against the PSNI during April to September 2016. The number of complaints have decreased significantly in Belfast (21.9%) and Derry City & Strabane (17.4%) yet have risen in Mid Ulster (32.7%) and Mid & East Antrim (34.6%). It is thought that these increases can be attributed to particular incidents such as the Woodburn Forest protest.
Chair of the Committee Nelson McCausland MLA said: “The overall reduction in complaints and allegations against the police is good news for public confidence in policing. It is important that when a member of the public comes into contact with the police that they get a professional service and it is vital that police officers ensure that they are consistently compliant with the Code of Ethics – we expect nothing less.
However, the Committee noted that while the reduction in allegations of incivility and oppressive behaviour has continued in 2016/17, allegations of failure in duty increased by nearly 8%. This is of particular concern as it relates to such circumstances where victims feel let down by the conduct of police investigations and incident response, or where PSNI have failed to update victims as to progress in their cases. PSNI have assured Members that they are taking steps to tackle this issue and will report to the Committee in June 2017 on their progress. The Committee will also seek an update from PSNI in relation to the use of Body Worn Video, recognising that while designed to gather evidence to support victims, it may be seen to play a valuable role in reducing complaints against officers.”
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Notes to Editors
Members of the Performance Committee present at the 8 December meeting were: Nelson McCausland MLA (Chair), Roisin McGlone (Vice Chair), Keith Buchanan MLA, Joanne Bunting MLA, Brice Dickson, Deirdre Blakely, Gerry Kelly MLA, Raymond McCartney MLA and Debbie Watters.
The figures published by the Police Ombudsman’s Office can be viewed here.
Notes to Editors ends.