The report reveals that there was a total of 434 complaints made against the county force in 2014/15, a two percent decrease on the year before. The total number of appeals made by dissatisfied complainants was 80, an increase of 31 percent.
Nationally, complaints were up six percent with a total of more than 37.000. The IPCC said it found a marked difference in how police forces dealt with complaints.
The report found the following inconsistencies:
* Whether forces investigated most complaints formally or used more informal ‘local resolution’ processes: some forces investigated over 70% of complaints; while others used local resolution in over 70% of cases. In Northamptonshire, 70% of cases were investigated and 19% were dealt with through the local resolution process
* The proportion of complaints that were initially upheld in each force, ranging from 7% to 27%; and the proportion of investigation appeals each force upheld, ranged from none to two-thirds. Northamptonshire Police upheld 16% of complaints and 9% of its investigation appeals
* The success rate for complaints investigation appeals considered by the IPCC (39%) remained twice as high as when those appeals were heard by forces themselves (19%). The IPCC upheld 15% of appeals made about Northamptonshire Police complaint investigations
* The length of time taken to resolve complaints – averages ranged from 52 to 205 days. On average, it took 83 days for Northamptonshire Police to resolve a complaint.
Dame Anne Owers, chair of the IPCC, said: “The figures for England and Wales show a complaints system that is both over-complex and inconsistent and is clearly failing to satisfy a significant number of complainants.
“Chief Officers and Police and Crime Commissioners should look closely at the figures for their own forces to satisfy themselves that complainants are being treated fairly and well.
“However, the underlying problem is the system itself. We welcome the fact that the government proposes to bring in legislation to simplify and streamline a system that at present satisfies neither those who need it nor those who have to operate it.”