Police officers who searched a suspect's home when he was already in jail have been found by a complaints body to have neglected their duties. As a result, a directive will be issued requiring officers to check the police database before launching an operation. The Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) said yesterday the officers should have checked their records before making the search in connection with two fighting and wounding cases. It said they had caused disturbance to the suspect's family. The Complaints Against Police Office (Capo), which initially cleared the officers, acknowledged yesterday they had been in the wrong. The suspect's mother complained after five plain-clothes officers went to her home one morning and searched it, even after she had told them her son was in jail on another fighting charge. She lodged the complaint against the two senior inspectors supervising the case, saying they had caused her and her family unnecessary disturbance. Capo accepted the explanation by one of the officers that it was common for accomplices to hide in each other's homes and the search could have caught other related people or turned up new clues. But the IPCC, in a meeting with police yesterday, said that as the suspect was in jail he could not have been involved in the new cases. It also voiced its concerns about the officers' failure to check the police force's own records about the status of the wanted man. '[The officers] did cause disturbance to the complainant and her family,' council secretary Annie Leung Fok Po-shan said. Capo, although it initially cleared the officers, acknowledged they should have checked the records so they could evaluate possible threats, such as violent behaviour of suspects, before launching any operations. It said the senior inspectors and the officer who led the actual search had neglected their duties and the matter would be followed up by the police. 'A direction will be issued to all officers reminding them to check [the police database] before searches,' said Assistant Commissioner of Police Charles Wong Doon-yee. The number of complaints Capo received in the first eight months this year fell by about 6 per cent, from 2,277 to 2,143, compared with the same period last year.