Figures released today show a fall in the number of complaints made by members of the public against Northumbria Police last year.
Statistics published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) show that 314 cases were logged in 2015/16, compared to a tally of 417 the previous year.
Ninety-two per cent of cases were recorded within 10 days, an improvement on last year’s figure, and better than the national average of 88 per cent.
Today’s statistics also show that the time taken to resolve complaints through local resolution has improved, falling from an average of 62 days last year to 45 days this year.
The number of appeals considered by the IPCC has seen a small rise to 115, compared to 110 the year before.
Deputy Chief Constable Winton Keenen, said: “Over the last few years, we’ve made great progress, as is reflected by these improved complaints statistics. Through the implementation of the triage team, set up by Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, we have revolutionised the way complaints are handled – dealing with them faster and understanding them better. In fact, our pro-active, customer-relations approach is now being adopted by other forces elsewhere in the country.
“Northumbria Police has one of the highest levels of public satisfaction in the country and we are determined to keep it that way. Yes, we are encouraged by our improved position, but we know there is still work to do, and will continue in our commitment to seek actively new ways of improving the process and ultimately improving standards.
“Offering the best public service is at the heart of what we do. The people of Northumbria rightly expect officers and staff to behave with the utmost professionalism and it really does help if people get in touch to let us know when we don’t get this right so we can do something about it.”
Ms Baird said: “Northumbria Police did not have a good record for how they dealt with complaints when I came into post, but typically they have confronted the problem and, with my support, we’re determined to improve and we are beginning to see pleasing results.
“It is important to restore confidence to people who feel they have a cause for complaint against the police. We all know that the police are no more perfect than the rest of us, but they do owe the public a professional service. We have to make sure that people get quick attention to put things right when they go wrong and proper outcomes.
“Our dedicated complaints triage team, who are the first point of contact for all complainants have been at the heart of resolving complaints, in some cases within a few hours. Things are certainly now going in the right direction.”