Complaints against South Yorkshire Police went up by one fifth last year

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Complaints against South Yorkshire Police went up by a fifth last year - with 459 reported.

The 19 per cent increase was above the national average of 15 per cent for police forces nationally, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The 459 complaints were lodged between 2013 and 2014 and include a total of 988 individual allegations.

Per 1,000 employees 177 allegations were made, compared to 251 for all forces in England and Wales.

IPCC chiefs claim one reason for the increase in complaints last year is the definition of a complaint being broadened beyond an officer’s conduct to include ‘direction and control’ matters to do with operational policing.

A complainant has the right to appeal about the way in which a police force has handled their complaint.

The IPCC upheld eight appeals out of 22 where people were unhappy that South Yorkshire Police had not recorded their complaint, and 14 out of 45 appeals from people unhappy with the South Yorkshire Police investigation into their complaints.

In 2013/14, South Yorkshire Police finalised 302 complaint cases in an average of 115 working days, compared to an England and Wales average of 101 working days.

An IPCC spokesman said: “Across England and Wales the most common complaints involve allegations that an officer has been neglectful or failed in their duty, or that an officer’s behaviour has been uncivil, impolite or intolerant.”

Detective Superintendent Terry Mann, head of South Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Department, said: “Today’s report shows that complaints recorded against South Yorkshire Police, alongside other forces in England and Wales, have risen, which is disappointing but not altogether unexpected.

“It is right for the public to expect the highest standards from us and we expect our officers to behave with integrity and professionalism.

“Our allegations per 1,000 employees is significantly lower than the national average, which is good, but it only takes the actions of a few to tarnish the reputation of those who work incredibly hard every day to protect the public.

“We are reassured by the low percentage of appeals being upheld against the force, as this demonstrates the efficacy and quality of our Professional Standards investigations.

“Last year, the IPCC examined how the force deals with ‘Local Resolutions’ and held it to be good practice.

“We are always looking to further improve our services and will continue to examine and review our working processes, to ensure they are the best available to the public of South Yorkshire.”