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POLICE forces have been criticised for ignoring complaints.

The police watchdog has urged forces to examine practices to ensure they are not blocking access to the complaints system.

Almost two-thirds of appeals to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over ignored complaints were upheld last year.

Some 1,374 appeals over a force’s decision not to even record a complaint were made, up 16 per cent on last year.

Almost two-thirds were upheld, with the watchdog telling forces to look again at the complaints.

West Yorkshire was one of eight forces told to reconsider complaints in three-quarters or more of appeals.

In South Yorkshire, the IPCC completed 65 appeals about the handling of complaints against the force. It upheld 32 per cent.

In North Yorkshire, the IPCC upheld 21 per cent of appeals and in Humberside the figure was 30 per cent.

Dame Anne Owers, chairman of the IPCC, said in relation to the national statistics: “All chief constables should take personal interest in the findings of this report and assure themselves that they and their staff are meeting their obligations to record and resolve valid complaints from the public.”

Chief Superintendent Marc Callaghan, of the West Yorkshire Police Quality and Standards Department, said: “West Yorkshire Police handles nearly three quarters of a million incidents each year and officers and staff regularly face very difficult circumstances when dealing with them.

“Public confidence in local policing is also high and currently stands at 55 per cent – the highest rating achieved so far.

“West Yorkshire Police takes any complaint seriously and we work very hard to ensure all complaints are investigated in a professional and timely manner.

“Complaint cases recorded fell by 13 per cent when compared with 2010-2011 and we are one of the top performing forces in England and Wales when it comes to complaints per 1,000 employees.”