A crime tsar has revealed he’s simplifying the way members of the public can make a complaint against the police.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick was speaking following the publication of a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The report showed the total number of complaints against North Wales Police rose by eight per cent to 330 in 2013/14, compared to an increase of 15 per cent for England and Wales.
The rise follows an increase of three per cent in the force’s recorded complaints in 2012/13.
Some of the increase in 2013/14 is down to the definition of a complaint being broadened beyond an officer’s conduct to include ‘direction and control’ matters to do with operational policing.
Mr Roddick said: “I accept that all complaints must be treated seriously as it is very important that the officers and staff of North Wales Police uphold the highest possible standards at all times.
“The increase in the number of complaints lodged against North Wales Police was due, at least in part, to a change in the definition of a complaint and that the increase here was considerably lower than the average for England and Wales.
“One factor in the rise in complaints is that there is now greater awareness of Police and Crime Commissioners than there was of the old police authorities. This has led to an increase in the public’s confidence to make complaints and given them the reassurance that the PCCs will oversee the process effectively.
“I must say that based on my experience of working closely with North Wales Police for the last two years I believe that the great majority of police officers and police staff carry out their duties with great integrity and to the highest of standards.
“Where the actions and behaviour of officers and staff fall below those standards, I am satisfied that the checks and measures in place in North Wales Police ensure that those issues are dealt with effectively.
“I am in the course of reconsidering the complaints procedures and will be sending my suggestions to the Home Office next week.
“My aim is to simplifying the process for members of the public and to introduce an independent element into the handling of them. I do not want people to feel the process is too cumbersome.
“If people have a complaint we would much rather that they let us know. How else can we improve the service?”