THE number of allegations against officers and staff at one of the region's police forces has risen sharply in the last year.

North Yorkshire Police recorded an 18 per cent increase in the number of allegations made against the force in the first three months of the year, compared to the same period last year.

The figures were revealed in a report that will go before the North Yorkshire Police Authority today.

Allegations of oppressive conduct increased by 31 per cent, representing ten allegations, while there were also increased claims of unlawful detention, lack of fairness and impartiality, incivility and failures of duty.

A spokesman for the Police Federation for North Yorkshire, which represents the interests of police officers and staff, said the figures showed the pressure that officers were being put under to perform while under the threat of job cuts.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman declined to comment on the figures until after the meeting today.

Between January and March, the number of allegations made against the force was 261, compared to 221 for the same period last year.

Allegations made against staff in Hambleton and Richmondshire made up the greatest proportion of the figures, with 55 in the quarter, followed by York with 54.

More than half of the recorded allegations were made against police officers, which led to nine officers being subject to management action for what are described as 'minor lapses' of conduct, while two constables received written warnings for misconduct.

The report argues that the ratio of allegations to the number of calls received by the force, one to 173, is a low number in the light of the sometimes tense situations between officers and the public.

Mark Botham, from the Police Federation, said: "While people are of course entitled to make complaints, and this is done in an open and transparent manner, it should be noted that most allegations are unsubstantiated.

"Police officers operate with a high level of integrity and are under huge pressure because of the cuts they are facing and given that it is no surprise that the figures have increased."