A total of 401 complaints were made against the Force during 2014/2015, 14 per cent more than in the previous year according to latest figures released by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

There was an overall increase in complaints about Forces across England and Wales of 2,232 to 37,093 (six per cent). Bedfordshire recorded the third highest number of complaints per 1,000 employees of all 43 forces with 439. Lincolnshire attracted 580, Avon and Somerset 458) and the average was 293.

In Bedfordshire 22 per cent of cases were investigated and 69 per cent were dealt with through the local resolution process. The Force upheld 13 per cent of complaints, but none of its investigation appeals.

"We are concerned about this increase in complaints against the Force," says Jim Mallen, chairman of Bedfordshire Police Federation, "However, I think we need to look carefully at these figures before jumping to the conclusion that officers or staff are setting out to provide poor service.

"To me it cannot be a coincidence that we are seeing a sharp rise in complaints at the very time we are finding ourselves stretched to our limits. Is it just a case that officers are stressed and they are feeling the inevitable strain of trying to maintain services while resources are dwindling. A large number of the complaints are about alleged incivility, impoliteness and intolerance."

The IPCC figures show the highest number of complaints (23,361 of a total of 69,571) related to alleged neglect or failure in duty.

The next highest category of complaint was for incivility, impoliteness and intolerance.

Jim is also concerned about the time it can take to resolve a complaint and the effect lengthy investigations can have on officers and staff, and complainants.

In Bedfordshire, it took an average of 97 days to finalise complaint cases, slightly below the national average of 102 days.

To read the report please click here: national police complaints statistics.

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