Complaints against police: The complainants' experience
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This paper reports on a survey of citizens who made complaints against Victoria Police officers. The survey revealed considerable dissatisfaction with the complaints and discipline system. Two-thirds believed complaints took too long to resolve and were dissatisfied with how informed they were kept. Over half were dissatisfied with how the investigation was handled, as well as the outcome. Two-thirds had less confidence in the system following their experience with it. While one-third found it difficult to complain, two-thirds found lodging a complaint easy. Two-fifths indicated they experienced attempts to dissuade or obstruct them from lodging their complaint. Complainants' motives did not on the whole appear to be vindictive. They complained because they wanted to be heard, have their feelings validated or because they wanted an explanation or apology, rather than because they were seeking punishment or compensation. Two-thirds of complaints were investigated by police, although two-thirds of respondents indicated they would have preferred to have their complaint investigated by an independent agency. The majority of complainants who were kept informed during the complaint process were satisfied with the investigation or outcome. Respondents' recommendations about how the complaint system could be improved emphasised the desire for independent investigations, along with taking complaints more seriously, improving the time taken to finalise the matter and improving communication. The paper also reports on an initiative in the resolution of matters since the survey was conducted.
The Journal of Criminal Justice Research
Copyright 2010 The Journal of Criminal Justice Research. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Police Administration, Procedures and Practice