New data collected by a police watchdog has revealed the number of public complaints made against Essex Police.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct published its annual report on police complaints of 2020/21 on Thursday, October 18.

It is the first publication on police complaints since a February 2020 law change that allowed for more complaints to be dealt with informally and in-house by police.

The report shows, 1,778 complaints were made against Essex Police in 2020.

A total of 4,133 allegations were made against the force, including 145 allegations of discriminatory behaviour and 91 of corruption/abuse of position.

Of those allegations, 2,575 were finalised meaning the complainant is notified about the outcome of the allegation.

Twelve per cent were handled informally, 2,052 (80 per cent) were looked into by a force supervisor or manager who determined a formal investigation by the standards department was not necessary while 204 (eight per cent) were handed over to the standards department.

Detective Superintendent Scott Cannon, Head of Essex Police Professional Standards Department, explained the force has a “thorough and rigorous complaints process.”

He said: “When a complaint is made we look at the nature of it and the allegations made and decide the best way to look into it.

“The more serious allegations will be dealt with through a reasonable and proportionate investigation. These investigations could result in misconduct and gross misconduct matters being identified, but such cases are very rare for public complaints.

“Those assessed as less serious will be dealt with through a means referred to as ‘otherwise than an investigation’.

“This does not mean they are not looked into but there is no formal requirement to investigate the complaint in accordance with the IOPC Guidance. All complaints are still allocated to a supervisor or manager to identify if the service provided was acceptable or not.”

Det Supt Cannon added that the police have a range of processes in place to ensure all officers behaviour meets “the standards the force expect”.

He added the force made use of oversight boards and panels of independent members to scrutinised officer’s use of stop and search through body worn camera footage and staff were taking part in comprehensive diversity and inclusion training.