October 3: Police in the dock

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Complaints consistency is key

IF most police forces can deal with complaints in a professional and prompt manner, why has West Yorkshire been unable to do so until now? This is the most pertinent question emanating from statistics pointing to a 53 per cent increase in allegations levelled against officers, a rise attributed to the fact that the constabulary was not previously following the correct protocols when claims were made.

Trust is critical – public confidence in the police has been rocked by a number of scandals nationally – and these disclosures come at the end of a week in which West Yorkshire Police has come under fire for refusing to refund 16,000 parking tickets that had been issued erroneously by police community support officers as a result of an administrative error.

Yet, while there is probably a correlation in South Yorkshire between the increase in complaints and the child sex grooming scandal that continues to haunt the force, it is imperative that a complaints procedure is agreed for every force and applied consistently across the country.

Nothing less will suffice is the police are to regain the trust that has been lost in recent years. The sooner the police recognise the need to go the extra mile to restore public confidence, the better.