MORE than 1,000 allegations were made against Gwent Police officers in the past year, figures show, and the force was the slowest in the country when it came to dealing with recorded complaints.

The force said some of the complaints it dealt with were "highly complex", which impacted on timeliness figures.

The data, published by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), shows people made complaints about the Gwent force regarding alleged discriminatory behaviour, damage to property and abuse of position.

There was also one allegation made regarding sexual conduct.

In total, some 1,316 allegations formed 712 complaint cases made against Gwent Police in the past year.

A complaint case may involve more than one allegation. For example, if a person claims an officer pushed them and was rude, they are two separate allegations that form one complaint.

The most common type of allegation made against Gwent Police in 2020/21 was around the delivery of duties and service. This could include things like police action after being contact, decision made by officers, and the general level of service they provide.

See the table below for more information on the types of allegation made against Gwent Police in the past year:

What happens when a complaint is made?

In some cases, things may be resolved quickly to the satisfaction of the complainant, but in other cases the person making the complaint may still want the case to be recorded, or they may be dissatisfied with the outcome.

In these cases, as well as with certain types of allegation, the matter must be recorded under Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2003.

The matter may be referred to the IOPC, which will decide whether to investigate the complaint and take any action against the police force.

This could include offering an apology or explanation to the complainant, and in the more serious cases the IOPC could launch misconduct proceedings or criminal proceedings against the relevant force.

The data from the IOPC shows that in 2020/21, some 545 complaint cases involving Gwent Police were finalised (concluded) without needing to be recorded under Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act. There were also 94 complaint cases that were recorded under the Act.

It took Gwent Police an average 119 days to finalise each of those 94 cases – meaning the force was the slowest of any police force in Wales and England to deal with recorded complaints (the national average was 73 days).

Commenting on the IOPC figures, Superintendent Leanne Brustad, the head of the professional standards department at Gwent Police, said: “We have a dedicated team of sergeants and assessors who deal with complaints at Gwent Police, meaning we can resolve many complaints as quickly as possible.

“However, a few of our complaint cases are highly complex and these matters will impact on our timeliness figures.

“It is essential that we thoroughly investigate all complaints that we receive and that we’re consistent in our approach to resolving them.

“For us an organisation, it is important that we reach the correct resolution and one which the complainant is satisfied with.

“Our commitment to delivering this means that our complaints process is regularly scrutinised by the senior management team, the office for the police and crime commissioner and the police and crime panel.

“Our aim is that the public feel confident in reporting crime to us.

“But we also want to the public to know that we will listen to their concerns, if the level of service falls below the standard that they expect from us.”