THE number of complaints made about Gwent Police fell by 15 per cent last year, new figures show.

During 2011/2012, 330 complaints were recorded against the force, compared with 387 the year before, an Independent Police Complaints Commission report, released today, says.

This is in line with the national trend, which fell for a second consecutive year.

The total number of complaints recorded by the 44 England and Wales forces fell nine per cent to 30,143 complaints.

This followed a period of sustained growth, recorded since the IPCC was created in 2004.

The report shows a total of 578 allegations were made against Gwent Police within this year’s 330 complaints.

The number of appeals to the IPCC is also on the rise in Gwent and nationally. In 2010/11 52 appeals were made to the IPCC by members of the public who were unhappy about Gwent Police’s handling of their complaints.

That included 38 appeals about the way the force investigated a complaint, seven about the way Gwent Police resolved a complaint locally, and another seven about the force’s failure to record a complaint. This year the IPCC completed 45 appeals and upheld 12.

Dame Anne Owers, chair of the IPCC, said: “All Chief Constables should take a personal interest in the findings of this report and assure themselves that they and their staff are meeting their obligations to record and resolve valid complaints from the public. In particular, they should look closely at the number and type of appeals upheld by the IPCC.”

Gwent’s deputy chief constable Jeff Farrar said: “Gwent Police endeavours to provide the best possible service. However, we realised that this is not always the case.

“Our staff are regularly placed in dangerous and highly stressful situations as part of their work to keep our communities safe. As always, the challenge is to maintain the high standards of professionalism and service expected by members of the public while carrying out these vital duties.

“We welcome the publication of today’s IPCC report, which again shows positive improvements in our performance. However, we are not complacent and are constantly looking for ways to improve the way we work and serve the public.”