Number of complaints about police officers is falling

Published Date: 30.06.2017

The number of complaints made by members of the public about police officers in Northern Ireland last year has fallen by 8% from the previous year, to fewer than 2,800.

2016-17 Annual Report2016-17 Annual Report

This is one of the statistics released by the Police Ombudsman’s Office in its Annual Report and its Annual Statistical Bulletin for the period between April 2016 and March 2017.

Belfast City had the largest decrease in complains, where numbers fell by 19%. Derry City and Strabane had a fall of 13% in the numbers of complaints about its officers.

Mid and East Antrim had the largest increase in  complaints – they went up by 17%, though its thought that this may have been due to events connected to the environmental protest at Woodburn Forest near Carrickfergus.

Not all complaints received by the Office become subject to a full investigation.  Last year, after initial inquiries, it established that more than 330 complaints were ill founded and without basis or foundation.

In some instances, the person making the complaints will agree to see if their issue with the police officers can be resolved informally. Last year, more than 180 complaints were dealt with that way. 

Of those complaints which were subject to full investigation during the period, 22% found evidence to substantiate all or part of the complaint or identified another area of concern.

The Office submitted 228 files to the Public Prosecution Service last year upon the completion of investigations. In 24 of these it recommended that an officer be prosecuted.

On more than 260 occasions it recommended that police officers be subject to discipline or ‘performance’ actions/advice.

It also made 47 recommendations that police make changes to their existing policies.  

Police Ombudsman’s Annual Report, 2016-17.
Police Ombudsman's Annual Statistical Bulletin, 2016-17.

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