No misconduct action against Derbyshire police officers despite hundreds of complaints

No misconduct action was taken against Derbyshire police officers despite hundreds of complaints being lodged over one year, new figures show.

By Andrew Dowdeswell, Data Reporter
Friday, 24th June 2022, 5:25 pm

The Police Federation said the actions of a small proportion of officers from some forces should not harm the police's reputation.

However, the figures come in the wake of a number of high profile cases of police misconduct and criminal behaviour nationally.

These include former West Midlands detective Nicholas Taylor, who was found guilty of gross misconduct for selling sexual services to strangers, and Met officer Wayne Couzens, who was sentenced to life in prison for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard last year.

Home Office figures show there were 625 complaints about officers in Derbyshire Constabulary in the year to April 2021.

Home Office figures show there were 625 complaints about officers in Derbyshire Constabulary in the year to April 2021.

But none were referred to the official disciplinary process, launched when an officer is deemed to have a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct.

Overall, no action was taken in 99% of complaints.

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A small number of allegations involving actions that do not amount to misconduct but fall short of expectations of police behaviour led to reflective review proceedings or performance reviews.

The complaints in 2020-21 involved 454 Derbyshire police officers – an officer can be subject to more than one allegation and an allegation can involve multiple officers.

Across England and Wales, 14,393 official complaints were made against police officers.

Only 1% of these led to an official process to hear the case, while no action was taken in 92% of grievances raised.

The Police Federation of England and Wales said most officers "come into the police service to protect the public and act with integrity and respect".

Phill Matthews, conduct and performance lead at the Police Federation, condemned the behaviour of a small minority, which he said should not taint the police's reputation.

Mr Matthews said: "The police service is very good at uncovering those that don’t deserve to be in the job."

Derbyshire figures also show there were 101 allegations of "conduct matter" offences, where there is an indication a crime has been committed – involving 50 police officers.

There were also four allegations against three officers for "recordable conduct" matters, including those that caused serious harm or death, and allegations of sexual offences and corruption.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct, which investigates the most serious police misconduct allegations, said an investigated case may not always lead to a finding of misconduct.

"There are a range of options including organisational or individual learning, providing an explanation, or providing an apology," a spokesperson added.

"These are all designed to have a range of options to resolve the complaint.

"Therefore, only the most serious cases will result in proceedings."

Police forces deal with the majority of complaints against police officers and police staff themselves. Police forces must refer the most serious cases to the IOPC – whether or not someone has made a complaint.

Superintendent Jed Keen, head of our Professional Standards Department, said: “We accept the experimental data published by the Home Office is important in allowing us to provide greater transparency regarding our complaints and misconduct procedures.

“As a force we are committed to taking action when officers are not in line with our professional standards. We take proactive action to identify those who behave in such a way.

“A complaints and misconduct system for policing is in place to investigate reports and determine the facts as quickly as possible, and to remove or sanction those found guilty of misconduct. Changes were made to the regulated system in 2020 to support this.

“Where legislation allows, we ensure that we follow guidelines so that outcomes on misconduct procedures are communicated to the public in relation to the most serious allegations, to provide transparency for the actions we have taken.”