A 50 per cent jump in the number of complaints against police and a 73 per cent rise in misconduct gripes in the first seven months of this year has raised concerns. Eric Cheung Tat-ming, a member of the Independent Police Complaints Council, is so worried about the alarming rise that he raised the numbers in yesterday's meeting. Cheung said the average number of complaints a month had nearly doubled this year - with 425 in June and 524 in July - compared with previous years. But Assistant Police Commissioner Vincent Wong Fook-chuen yesterday attributed the dramatic increase to the bad economy and widespread publicity of the new independent police watchdog, the Complaints Council, this year. About half of the 2,329 complaints lodged alleged neglect of duty, 73 per cent more than last year. And 31 per cent, or 724, of the overall complaints involved alleged misconduct, improper manner and offensive language. Chief Superintendent Fan Sik-ming, of the police complaints investigation branch, said senior management had noted an increase in complaints and reminded officers to show restraint when on duty. Wong said complaint prevention committees had been set up recently and he had visited the three police districts that recorded the highest numbers of complaints. He refused to name these districts. Council chairman Jat Sew-tong noted the serious allegation by two brothers that 10 narcotics officers beat up one of them during a raid on a Yuen Long village home last week. The brothers accuse the police of not identifying themselves during the raid. The brother who was beaten said he may have lost some hearing in his right ear. Jat said the council did not rule out a possible review of the case and police policy on entering private premises at its next meeting in December. Meanwhile, police admitted that since 2006, 10 drivers had been caught illegally racing cars but none had been convicted because it was difficult to prove. Instead, some of them were found guilty of dangerous or careless driving offences, which carries a maximum six-month jail term. Concerns over public safety were raised in July when six people were injured when police set up a 'human roadblock' using three taxis, a truck and a private car. Drivers of the roadblock vehicles on the Kwun Tong Bypass were still in their seats when six of the racing vehicles, travelling at up to 120km/h, ploughed into the roadblock. Chief Superintendent Mike Demaid-Groves, of the traffic branch, said that under the law, police found it difficult to prove that the drivers were actually racing. Police figures show that of the 137 complaints related to possible illegal car racing, such as noise, in the first half of this year, 23 had been confirmed. Demaid-Groves said police had the power to stop private vehicles in a bid to stop illegal car racers. But it was not policy to use the public in such incidents.