Northumbria Police saw the highest rise in complaints of any force in the country, official figures have revealed.
A total of 794 complaints were made against Northumbria Police, which had 5,871 employees in 2013/2014, representing a 98 per cent rise in 2013/14, compared to an increase of 15 per cent for England and Wales, statistics issued by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) show.
The total number of complaints against Durham Constabulary rose 26 per cent to 303, while over the same period complaints against North Yorkshire Police rose 15 per cent to 544.
Cleveland Police saw the number of complaints it received drop by six per cent to 454 last year.
A spokesman for the IPCC said:
“Some of the increase in 2013/14 is down to 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.
Just one in 20 of appeals from the public against Durham Constabulary were upheld by the force IPCC, compared with a 46 per cent of those considered by the IPCC.
A crime team has been championed for its efforts to tackle loan sharks.
Durham Constabulary has been commended for its outstanding work to raise awareness of the dangers of using illegal lenders in the Stop Loan Sharks Award.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) nominated the officers for its commitment to educating people and promoting the organisation’s work.
It added there was also a focus on tackling the issue at a planning level, with added support to carry out warrants, and encourage confidential reporting in whatever way people feel comfortable.
The IMLT works with Durham County Council and other Trading Standards authorities across the country.
The force is now in with a chance of becoming the national winner and receiving £1,000 worth of proceeds of crime money to fund further awareness raising, after an online public vote.
Detective Inspector Lyn Peart, of Durham Constabulary, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised for the work we do.
“Our message is simple – this activity will not be tolerated and, along with our partners, we will be relentless in our campaign to stop those involved in it.
“We look forward to continuing to work alongside our partners to tackle this issue and to keep our communities safe.”
Anyone who wants to speak about loan sharks can call the 24-hour confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222, text “loan shark + your message” to 60003, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a private message via http://www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject.
Source – Sunderland Echo, 14 July 2014