Nearly all formal allegations against Surrey Police officers resulted in no misconduct action last year, new figures show.
Police behaviour and misconduct processes have fallen under the spotlight once again after it emerged that serving Metropolitan Police officer David Carrick – who admitted to a string of sexual offences and rapes spanning two decades – faced no misconduct action or criminal sanctions despite coming to the attention of the force on several occasions.
Home Office figures show 2,111 misconduct allegations were made against Surrey Police officers and handled under the formal complaints process in the year to April 2022.
Of these, 2,025 (96%) resulted in no action being required against the police officers involved.
Just four allegations were referred to official misconduct proceedings and 46 were referred to the reflective practice review process – when an officer’s behaviour falls short of expectations but does not amount to misconduct.
The figures cover the total number of allegations rather than the number of complaints – one complaint could contain several allegations of misconduct. They do not cover any complaints handled outside the formal process, where it was felt a detailed enquiry was not needed.
Across England and Wales, 87,786 allegations were made against police officers and handled under the formal complaints process in 2021-22. The majority (88%) found no action was required.
David Carrick pleaded guilty to 49 offences against at least a dozen women – including 24 counts of rape – over an 18-year period. He was only suspended in October 2021 after being arrested over a second rape complaint.
The Met has apologised to victims after it was revealed he came to the attention of police over nine incidents, including allegations of rape, domestic violence and harassment, between 2000 and 2021.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said in reaction to Carrick's case that there is no place in police forces for officers who “who fall so seriously short" of the acceptable standards of behaviour.
“Police forces must root out these officers to restore the public’s trust, which has been shattered by high-profile events such as this," they added.
“The Home Office is pushing for improvement and has recently announced a review of police dismissals to ensure the system is fair and effective at removing officers who are not fit to serve.”
The Home Office figures show there were 96 allegations of "conduct matter" offences against Surrey Police officers in 2021-22 – those which are not the subject of a complaint and indicate that an officer may have committed a criminal offence or behaved in a way that would justify disciplinary proceedings.
Of them, 14 were referred to official misconduct proceedings and 47 were referred to the reflective practice review process. No action was required in 31 cases.
A further 20 "recordable conduct matter" allegations were made, where it is alleged that an officer's conduct resulted in the death or serious injury of any person.
A decision that no action was required was determined in two cases, while 16 were referred to misconduct proceedings and two were referred to the reflective practice review process.
Nationally, 68 officers were found guilty in criminal proceedings including sexual offences (10), violence against the person (10), and traffic offences (23).
The Police Federation of England and Wales, which declined to comment on the case against David Carrick, said the vast majority of police officers provide the "best service they can" in challenging circumstances.
A spokesperson added: "Police officers are responding to increased demands on their services and at times things can and do go wrong.
"The results from the police misconduct statistics show that only a very small percentage of police officers are dismissed from the service as a result of a complaint."
They added senior leaders should be encouraged to promote the use of reflective practices in policing for lessons to be learnt in a more "efficient and effective way".