Police Ombudsman: Sharp rise in disciplinary action

PSNI
PSNI
Share this article

The number of police officers and staff recommended for disciplinary action in Northern Ireland has increased sharply, a watchdog revealed.

The Police Ombudsman called for individuals to be disciplined on 380 occasions last year, his office confirmed. That total rose by almost 150 on the previous year.

One officer was disciplined after an investigation concluded he had grabbed a youth by his coat and shaken him while using abusive language.

In another case a policeman alleged to have grabbed a teenage girl by her hair and cardigan and tripped her up while wrenching a music speaker from her grasp was cautioned for assault.

The latest figures revealed significant decreases in two of the most common allegations made against police officers during 2014-15.

Last year the number of allegations which said that a police officer had displayed oppressive behaviour like harassment or assault fell by 28 per cent to 1,400 complaints.

The number of allegations of incivility by an officer, suggestions they had been rude or shown lack of respect, fell by 23 per cent to 421.

The largest number of allegations received by the office – those which claimed an officer had failed in his or her duty – rose by five per cent to 2,381.

More than 60 recommendations were made during 2014/15 for change to PSNI policy or procedures in areas including the safety of custody suites, the use of vehicles and the policing of public unrest, the ombudsman said.

The figures are contained in the office’s latest Annual Statistical Bulletin, which covers the period from April 2014 to March 2015.

The office fully investigated 1,331 complaints. In 368 cases it found evidence to uphold the complaint or identified an issue of concern.

On 12 occasions it recommended that officers be prosecuted.