Less than 6% of complaints against Nottinghamshire police lead to misconduct proceedings

Less than 6 per cent of complaints about Nottinghamshire police officers over one year led to misconduct action, new figures show.

By Andrew Dowdeswell
Saturday, 11th June 2022, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 16th June 2022, 11:12 am

Less than 6 per cent of complaints about Nottinghamshire police officers over one year led to misconduct action, new figures show.

The Police Federation said the actions of a small proportion of officers from some forces should not harm the police's reputation.

However, the figures come in the wake of a number of high profile cases of police misconduct and criminal behaviour nationally.

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Home Office figures show there were 1,064 complaints about officers in Nottinghamshire Police in the year to April 2021.

These include former West Midlands detective Nicholas Taylor, who was found guilty of gross misconduct for selling sexual services to strangers, and Met officer Wayne Couzens, who was sentenced to life in prison for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard last year.

Home Office figures show there were 1,064 formal complaints about officers in Nottinghamshire Police in the year to April 2021.

Of these, just 34 were referred to the official disciplinary process, launched when an officer is deemed to have a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct.

It meant just 5.3 per cent of all complaints led to misconduct proceedings, while no action was taken in 87 per cent of complaints.

A small number of allegations involving actions that do not amount to misconduct but fall short of expectations of police behaviour led to reflective review proceedings or performance reviews.

No police officers resigned or retired following the allegation made against them.

The complaints in 2020-21 involved 597 Nottinghamshire police officers – an officer can be subject to more than one allegation and an allegation can involve multiple officers.

Across England and Wales, 14,393 official complaints were made against police officers.

Only 1 per cent of these led to an official process to hear the case, while no action was taken in 92 per cent of grievances raised.

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Integrity

The Police Federation of England and Wales said most officers ‘come into the police service to protect the public and act with integrity and respect’.

Phill Matthews, federation conduct and performance lead, condemned the behaviour of a small minority, which he said should not taint the police's reputation.

He said: “The police service is very good at uncovering those that don’t deserve to be in the job.”

Nottinghamshire figures also show there were 83 allegations of ‘conduct matter’ offences, where there is an indication a crime has been committed – involving 47 police officers.

There were also 26 allegations against 14 officers for ‘recordable conduct’ matters, including those that caused serious harm or death, and allegations of sexual offences and corruption.

Some 26 conduct matters were referred to official proceedings, while 14 recordable conduct matters resulted in misconduct action.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct, which investigates the most serious police misconduct allegations, said an investigated case may not always lead to a finding of misconduct.

A spokesman said: “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.”

Transparent

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Griffin, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “The regulated police complaints and discipline system applicable to all forces in England and Wales enables Nottinghamshire Police to operate a transparent service and provide the public with a voice when they believe we have not met the very high standards we at all times strive to achieve.

“By listening to the full spectrum of dissatisfaction, Nottinghamshire Police will continually improve its service to communities.

“Throughout the year 2020/21, Nottinghamshire Police were able to quickly deal with 32 per cent of allegations to the satisfaction of the complainant without having to engage the formal complaints system.

“Where this was not possible, of all allegations finalised, 59 per cent were handled other than by way of investigation, in a reasonable and proportionate manner. The remaining nine per cent of those finalised allegations required a formal investigation by the force’s Professional Standards Directorate, or the Independent Office of Police Conduct.

“In only 8 per cent of those allegations was there an indication that a person serving with the police had committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings.

“These figures demonstrate that on the vast majority of occasions our officers behave in the right way and maintain high professional standards.

"The force is committed to holding its officers to account on behalf of the public and should any officer or staff member misconduct themselves, they will be held to account.

"For the most serious proven allegations, officers and staff will face dismissal from Nottinghamshire Police and they will be banned nationally from re-entering policing, for life.”