Positive views on police complaints system

Published Date: 28.10.2014

The Police Ombudsman's Office has described as positive the feedback from its most recent survey of those who have used the police complaints system.

The Office has this morning published the findings of a survey of complainant satisfaction with the service it provided in 2013- 2104.

PDF: Full report

The Office’s Chief Executive, Adrian McAllister, said he welcomed the fact that responses about  Police Ombudsman staff were favourable:

“I think all credit goes to the staff for working with people in a way which, when asked, the majority of respondents seemed to view in a positive way.

However, it was a year when we had the highest number of complaints ever made to the Office and a time when the cuts in public sector funding began to bite and I notice that some of those positive responses have dropped slightly on the extremely high levels in previous years, “ he said.

Among the findings were:

  • 80% of complainants thought staff were impartial, an increase of 13% points on the level recorded in 2009/10.
  • 92% of complainants thought staff were polite and 87% thought they were professional, although these figures represented a drop from the levels in 2009/10.

When complainants were asked about the service they received:

  • 65% of complainants responded positively when asked if they felt they had been treated fairly by the Office. The same proportion also said they would use the complaints system again. Here too these figures represented a drop on the levels recorded in 2009/10.

Mr McAllister said that while the Office values its independence above everything else, it is also committed to ensuring the views of those who use the police complaints system are taken into account in seeking to improve the service it provides.

“We provide a service which focuses on the impartiality and thoroughness of investigations. We also emphasise the importance of high quality service and recently introduced a  Service Charter.’

It can be difficult to measure the attitudes of complainants to that service, as for many people their attitudes will be influenced by the outcome of the complaint they have made to us. 

Even so, we are committed to the exercise. This year it has confirmed to us that people have a positive view of our staff, while also identifying areas where things might be slipping and need more attention,” he said.

The Police Ombudsman’s Office also surveys the attitudes of police officers who have been subject of a complaint to the Office. The figures from those surveys are published separately.


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