Published Date: 20.12.2011

Figures released today (Tuesday) by the Police Ombudsman's Office provide an indication of the characteristics of police officers who attract public complaints compared with the overall profile of the PSNI.

The Office has looked at the issue of which police officers and which roles within policing attract complaints from the public.

The work was carried out by the Office's Research and Performance Directorate and looked at officers who received complaints between December 2008 and October 2010.

Overall, less experienced officers were over-represented among officers who attracted complaints. According to the research 55% of police officers who attracted 3 or more complaints had less than 5 years service whilst 23% of PSNI officers had less than 5 years service.

Further analysis showed that it was particularly less experienced officers within Response and Neighbourhood Policing Units (those who attend calls from the public) who were over-represented.

The report also found that police officers in the Response and Neighbourhood Units and in Tactical Support Groups (those police officers drafted in to assist local police) were over-represented among officers who attracted Oppressive Behaviour allegations.

Research also found that Response and Neighbourhood police officers and Traffic police officers were over-represented among officers who attracted incivility or rudeness allegations.

The Police Ombudsman's Director of Research and Performance Greg Mullan, has said that while these figures may not be surprising, they provide an important basis for the PSNI when looking at how they might reduce the number of complaints:

"We are asking the PSNI to look closely at the research findings with a view to informing its ongoing Complaints Reduction Strategy."

"As far as the Police Ombudsman's Office is concerned it is committed to working with the police to, where appropriate, conduct further analysis and interpretation of the report's findings.

it is important we explore why there are more than expected numbers of police officers attracting complaints within certain groups. Improving policing for the community should be the common goal" said Mr Mullan.

The Report, entitled "Characteristics of Police Officers in Northern Ireland who Attract Complaints, 2008- 2010" is available on the Police Ombudsman website:

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