Almost 1,000 complaints made against South Yorkshire Police in a year
The Independent Office of Police Conduct has published its report into police complaints made between 2020 and 2021, revealing the number of grievances raised against South Yorkshire officers in 12 months.
The report revealed that from April 2020 to April 2021, South Yorkshire Police logged 941 complaints, which comprised 1,640 allegations against officers made by dissatisfied members of the public.
SYP took an average of 16 days to log a complaint – the national average was six. SYP also took an average of 16 days to contact the complainant, compared to a national average of seven.
Complaints made against the police can be dealt with informally, or formally under the Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002. The latter takes place if allegations are serious, or the complainant is not satisfied with an informal resolution.
A total of 755 of the 941 complaints made about SYP in 2020/21 – which accounted for 1,214 of the allegations – were ‘finalised’. A case is finalised when all actions relating to that case are complete and the complainant is notified about the outcome.
Of these, 224 were finalised informally, accounting for 284 of the allegations made against officers. The force took an average of 37 days to do this.
Some 531 complaints were considered formally under schedule 3 and finalised, which took on average of 72 days. These cases represented 930 allegations – 864 were considered formally and not investigated, while 66 were investigated.
In South Yorkshire the complaints included 854 about the delivery of duties and service; 401 about police powers, policies and procedures; 38 about handling of or damage to property; 54 about access and disclosure of information; five about use of police vehicles; 47 about discrimination; nine about abuse of position or corruption; 224 about ‘individual behaviours’; two about sexual conduct; five about discreditable conduct and one ‘other’.
South Yorkshire Police has been contacted for comment on the figures.
These are the first IOPC complaints statistics to be published since moving to a new system of recording complaints in February 2020.
Commenting on this year’s figures, IOPC Director General Michael Lockwood said: “Now, more than ever, the public need assurance that policing is listening to their concerns and taking action to put things right. They want to know that there are checks and balances to police powers and there is accountability and learning when things go wrong.
“These statistics provide a view of police complaints in England and Wales – identifying what complaints are being made and how police forces are responding to them.
“Given the significant changes to how complaints are recorded and handled by police forces in the last year, more time is needed to ensure the consistency and completeness of this data. Therefore, these figures are what the Office of National Statistics defines as ‘experimental statistics’.
“Notwithstanding that, I am encouraged that widening the definition of a complaint to any expression of dissatisfaction and removing many of the barriers to recording, has seen the expected significant increase in the volume of complaints being received.
“What is equally positive is that many more complaints are now being resolved quickly and informally, with fewer resulting in lengthy investigations. These are being replaced with more tailored responses such as explanations and apologies which address the concerns raised.”