PSNI complaint figures rise by 14%

19 June 2014

Members of the Policing Board’s Performance Committee today (19th June) questioned senior PSNI officers on the cause of the highest number of complaints against the PSNI since the Police Ombudsman’s Office opened in 2000.

The Committee, which has a role to keep informed about the complaints process and to monitor trends and patterns in complaints against police officers, heard from the Police Ombudsman’s Office that 3,734 complaints and 6,089 allegations have been made against the PSNI in 2013/14.

Chair of the Committee Jonathan Craig MLA said: “The Committee is concerned at the significant rise in complaints against the police which is the highest number of complaints recorded by the Ombudsman’s Office since they opened in 2000. Indeed, the level of complaints has risen by 14% in 2013/14 when the number had been decreasing since 2009/10.

Detail provided shows that the highest number of allegations originate from District B which covers East and South Belfast and appear to originate from city centre arrests and complaints made via Musgrave Street Custody Suite. It is also worth noting that 4% of all the complaints received by the Office last year were about parades and demonstrations.

Following concerns raised by the Policing Board about levels of incivility, the PSNI implemented a Complaints Reduction Strategy in 2010 which led to a decrease in the number of allegations in this area. However, the number of allegations of incivility has risen by 6% on the previous year. What concerns this Committee also is the significant increase in the number of complaints of oppressive behaviour which rose last year by 29%.

While complaints indicate that people are engaging with the policing structures, it is vital that police officers ensure that they are consistently compliant with the Code of Ethics so that our community gets the best possible policing service which they can have confidence in. We expect nothing less of police officers and value the independent procedures in place to deal with complaints.”

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For further information, please contact the Policing Board's Communications Branch on 07801 738795

Notes to Editors

1. Members of the Performance Committee present were: Jonathan Craig MLA (Chair), Gearóid Ó hEára (Vice Chair), Brice Dickson, Ryan Feeney, Gerry Kelly MLA, Chris Lyttle MLA, David McIlveen MLA, Brian Rea, Caitríona Ruane MLA and Debbie Watters.

2. The figures published by the Police Ombudsman’s Office can be viewed here.

Notes to Editors ends.