POLICE in North Yorkshire received fewer complaints last year, but took 80 per cent longer than the national average to respond to them.

Information released on Thursday by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), showed North Yorkshire Police recorded 283 complaints in 2017/18 - a drop of 15 per cent on the previous year.

However, the figures showed the force took an average of 313 working days to locally investigate an allegation, compared to 173 nationally, and for allegations finalised by a local resolution - a less formal matter, where an investigation is not required - it took an average of 99 working days, compared to 72 days nationally.

Nationally, the number of complaints recorded by police forces have fallen by seven per cent, and Miranda Biddle, regional director of the IOPC, said the new figures would help the force improve its service.

She said: "The information received through the complaints system can also help the police to deal with any worrying trends proactively within their communities. However, it’s crucial we don’t forget that behind every complaint someone is dissatisfied about the service they’ve received from the police, or how they’ve been treated by them. Some of the most valuable lessons are learned from the experiences of people who have felt the need to complain."

The force also recorded a reduction in the number of allegations (separate from complaints), by 23 per cent, and only a quarter of allegations led to investigations, with 75 per cent dealt with by local resolution, almost double the national average of 42 per cent.

From next year, changes to the complaints system will change how complaints and allegations are defined, to improve clarity on matters which need addressing.

Nationally, the number of complaints recorded by police forces fell by seven per cent.