COMPLAINTS against Hampshire Constabulary rose 26 per cent this year — the biggest rise of all 44 forces in the UK — but a leading police figure has urged the public not to think the worst.
Having received 648 complaints over 2010-2011, the force received 819 across 2011-2012, according to a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Although there was a significant rise, the latest figures were still well below the number of complaints made in 2009-2010, when 1,137 were recorded.
John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Constabulary’s Police Federation, said: "Last year there was a 43 per cent drop in complaints, so I think somewhere this is a balancing out of numbers.
"What I would like to know, and what the IPCC has not released, is how many complaints were substantiated and how many resulted in misconduct charges or criminal investigation. I would say the amount is very small and the vast majority of complaints are at a very low level.
"It is not the case police officers are unaccountable. These figures, although alarming on first glance, need to be put into context."
The report stated more complaints were recorded quicker in 2011-12 by Hampshire officers than the previous year, with 83 per cent being recorded within ten days, compared with 81 per cent a year earlier. However, this was still below the national average of 86 per cent.
Hampshire was found to deal with complaints requiring local resolution five days slower than the national average of 55 days.
The report noted the number of allegations against the force — there can be more than one allegation within a complaint — had dropped three per cent, from 1,697 allegations to 1,651.
Of those, 1,458 were finalised by police — 923 investigated, 84 withdrawn, four discontinued and 66 requiring no further action.
Hampshire Constabulary made appeals to the IPCC on 155 occasions last year, 113 of which were completed by the time the report was published.
Of those, 29 per cent had been upheld, below the national average of 38 per cent.
Nationally, complaints against the police have dropped nine per cent, and allegations have dropped eight per cent.