Published Date: 24.11.2005
An average of around 80 complaints are made against police officers in Armagh city and district each year, the Police Ombudsman has revealed.
Mrs Nuala O'Loan told members of the local District Policing Partnership at their meeting today (24 November 2005) that a total of 379 complaints against police officers in Armagh DCU had been received by her office since it opened in November 2000.
Some 79% of these related to incidents alleged to have happened in Armagh city, with a further 10% alleged to have taken place in the Tandragee area, 4% at Gough and 3% in Keady.
Mrs O'Loan also revealed that the largest single category of complaint in Armagh DCU is oppressive behaviour, which includes allegations of assault, intimidation or harassment.
"This is generally the most serious category of complaint, and accounts for 41% of all allegations in Armagh, compared to 36% across Northern Ireland as a whole," said Mrs O'Loan.
"The most recent figures would also indicate that there has been a slight increase in such allegations in Armagh over the past 18 months, whereas across Northern Ireland as a whole the trend is downwards."
Failure in duty is the next largest type of complaint in Armagh, accounting for 29% of all allegations (39% across Northern Ireland as a whole).
"Such complaints are about situations in which people feel that they have not received the service they are entitled to expect from the police," said Mrs O'Loan. "This might include allegations that police have not responded to calls, or have failed to properly investigate a crime."
A further 15% of complaints in Armagh are about incivility, or alleged rudeness, by police officers.
Mrs O'Loan also revealed that the locations and circumstances of incidents leading to complaints were very similar in Armagh to the wider Northern Ireland picture.
"Just over a quarter of incidents in Armagh DCU are alleged to have happened on a street or road, and a further 21% at a police station, which is very similar to the figures for all of Northern Ireland. However, a greater proportion of incidents are alleged to have taken place at domestic residences in Armagh than in the rest of Northern Ireland, at 18% compared to 14%."
Similarly, the number of complaints about incidents occurring during arrests or police investigations in Armagh are close to the Northern Ireland average at 27% and 14% respectively, although searches by police give rise to more complaints in Armagh than across Northern Ireland (8% compared to 5%).
"I hope these figures will prove useful to both the police and DPP members in understanding the issues and situations that are giving rise to complaints in Armagh DCU," said Mrs O'Loan.
Other figures presented by Mrs O'Loan revealed that:
76% of complainants in Armagh DCU were male.
52% of complainants were Catholic, 38% Protestant, 5% of other religion and 5% of no religion.
32% of complainants were aged between 16 and 25, 50% between 26 and 45, 17% between 46 and 65 and 1% 66 and over.