The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has published new guidelines on dealing with allegations of discriminatory behaviour, including homophobia.

The new guidelines build upon the racial discrimination guidelines published in 2003.

They will now include age, religion and belief, disability, gender, race, and sexual orientation discrimination.

According to the organisation, they will provide guidance on the handling of allegations of discriminatory behaviour and ensure a consistent approach is achieved by those responsible for investigating allegations.

In particular, they outline that investigation reports should demonstrate the concepts, principles and methodology employed in fact finding, analysis and conclusions to discrimination.

IPCC Chair Nick Hardwick said: “As we can see from the research people feel strongly that discriminatory behaviour should be reported, however, the number of actual cases is very low. It is important that the necessary guidelines are in place to address all forms of discrimination if we are to continue to increase the public’s confidence in the police complaints system.

“These guidelines are a fundamental step in the right direction for improving public confidence. There is now a mechanism in place that will ensure that those dealing with complaints, whether they are within a police authority, police force or the IPCC, have clear cut guidance on what should be done.

“Currently a review of IPCC statutory guidance is underway and will include reference to these guidelines and their use.”

In 2006/07, only three per cent of total complaints received by the IPCC related to discrimination.