DORSET Police recorded 537 complaints last year - an increase of six per cent on 2016/17.

The figures were released by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) yesterday. The organisation says there are wide discrepancies nationally in the way forces handle complaints.

While some forces choose to formally investigate most allegations made against them, others use the less formal ‘local resolution’ process, regional director Catrin Evans said.

Dorset Police finalised 50 per cent of allegations by local resolution.

On average, it took the force 163 working days to locally investigate an allegation, compared to 173 nationally. For allegations finalised by local resolution, it took an average of 52 working days to resolve the allegation, compared to 72 days nationally.

Ms Evans said: "More important than the overall numbers is the opportunity for forces to learn from the complaints they receive."

A number of changes to the complaints system will be introduced in 2019. The IOPC plans to improve how allegations are defined.

Less serious complaints dealt with outside the formal system will be captured and logged.