Only 1% of 14,000 complaints about police officers led to misconduct action

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Police officers (PA) (PA Archive)
Police officers (PA) (PA Archive)

Only 1% of more than 14,000 complaints made about police officers over one year led to misconduct action, Government figures have revealed.

There were 14,393 official complaints about officers from the 43 territorial forces in England and Wales in the year up to March 31 2021, according to Home Office statistics.

No action was taken against officers in 92% of cases, and only 1% faced misconduct proceedings, the department has said.

Officers face legal proceedings when they “have a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct”, according to the Home Office.

An additional 1,675 complaints were deemed “conduct matters” and 940 more were “recordable conduct matters” – those involving serious allegations against officers including action which led to death, injury, and claims involving sexual harassment.

The majority of complaints did not trigger misconduct proceedings because investigators decided there was “no case to answer”, while others were categorised as “discontinued”, “withdrawn” or “resolved”.

The proportions of these complaints which were investigated was much higher – some 28% of “conduct matters” against officers were referred to proceedings, and 33% of allegations involving “recordable conduct matters”.

There were 3,202 complaints made about officers in the South East of England, with Thames Valley Police (TVP) being the most complained-about force in the region with 1,279.

Some 2,624 grievances were made about police in London – 2,560 against Met officers and 64 against those in the City of London force.

In the East of England, 1,753 complaints were logged, with Essex Police accounting for 1,048 of these.

Welsh forces recorded 744 complaints, and South Wales Police had the highest figure at 275.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which investigates the most serious police misconduct allegations, said: “It is important to note, that just because a case is investigated, it does not mean that the finding could or should be misconduct.

“There are a range of options including organisational or individual learning; providing an explanation; or providing an apology.

“These are all designed to have a range of options to resolve the complaint.

“Therefore, only the most serious cases will result in proceedings.”

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