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Citizen Complaints Against Police: The Volume Received, and the Complaints Classification System Used by the Queensland Police Service, Australia

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 24 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2000 Pages: 31-41
Robert C. Holland
Mahesh K. Nalla
Date Published
11 pages
This article outlines how citizen complaints against police are assessed and recorded by one State police agency in Australia, the Queensland Police Service. Complaint classifications and recordings are identified and profiled with reference to complaints recorded between 1993-1994 and 1998-1999.
Citizen complaints against police relate to a variety of malpractices on the part of officers. Police malpractices include more than monetary corruption, it also includes the daily abuse of authority and the excessive use of force. Allegations of “excessive force”, “verbal abuse”, “intimidation”, as well as duty failure are the types of police malpractice that generate most citizen complaints. Complaints of police misconduct can take place in a variety of environments: detention and arrest; custody; search and seizure; handling of property; dealing with family and neighborhood disputes; loud parties; rowdy teens; and traffic enforcement. The article summarizes these eight categories of complaints. Knowing and understanding the different environments from which complaints are generated is vital to an effective complaints against police management program. To be effective, the law enforcement agency must possess a reliable and comprehensive complaint classification and recording system. The article attempts to illustrate how one law enforcement agency has recognized the managerial value of utilizing input from the community to measure and evaluate employee and agency performance. They established a broad based citizen complaints against police classification system. Notes and references