Two fifths of people in the South-east think police complaints will not be handled fairly.
A survey by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that 39 per cent of respondents in the South-east were not very or not at all confident that police deal with complaints against them fairly.
However 74 per cent said they would complain if they were really unhappy with how a police officer behaved or handled an issue.
The IPPC has published reviews of the complaints handling procedure, and has launched a three-year plan for improving the public’s confidence in the complaints system.
IPCC Chair, Dame Anne Owers, said: "The majority of the 30,000 complaints made annually about the police are handled by the police service itself.
“This survey shows that too many people are still either unsure of how to make a complaint about the police or don’t believe their complaint will be dealt with fairly.”
Dame Anne Owers said: "Later this year the IPCC will begin to take on more independent investigations into serious and sensitive allegations made against the police. That is an important part of our statutory responsibility to ensure public confidence in the police complaints system. But it is not enough, by itself, to achieve that aim.
"The survey findings underline the need for more work to address public confidence concerns, and how important it is we take forward our plans for improving complaints handling, in partnership with forces, PCCs, and other policing bodies.”
Dame Owers added that later this year the IPCC will carry out independent investigations into ‘serious and sensitive allegations made against the police’.
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