Call for evidence on police complaints in Scotland

An Independent Review of the arrangements for police “complaints handling, investigations and misconduct” in Scotland is calling for evidence. 

Dec 14, 2018
By Neil Root
Dame Elish Angiolini QC

The review will examine and assess the processes and procedures of the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and Police Scotland in these areas. 

It will engage with “key stakeholders, including individuals and families with first-hand experience of the operation of current systems and processes, via a range of channels”.  

Individual cases are not being reviewed, but how the experience of those involved or affected can inform and improve structures, operational responsibilities and processes will be considered. 

The review will examine the current law and practice in relation to complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues, as set out in relevant primary and secondary legislation; assess and report on the effectiveness of the current law and practice; and make recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and the Lord Advocate for improvements to ensure the system is fair, transparent, accountable and proportionate, in order to strengthen public confidence in policing in Scotland. 

It is being conducted in two phases. First, it will look at current procedures and consider guidance to identify areas for immediate improvement, with an initial report provided to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and the Lord Advocate. 

Secondly, there will be a wider assessment of the frameworks and practice in relation to complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues, covering the PIRC, the SPA and Police Scotland. This will include an assessment of human rights issues, plus identifying longer-term improvements, with the final report being produced. 

Today’s call for evidence (December 13) has been made by Dame Elish Angiolini, who was appointed to lead the review by the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice for Scotland, Michael Matheson MSP in June, and it was launched in September this year. 

Dame Elish Angiolini said: “I have been asked the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and the Lord Advocate to make recommendations to help strengthen public confidence in policing in Scotland.  

“Only by listening to a broad range of views and looking at the respective roles and practices of Police Scotland, the SPA, the PIRC and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service will I be able to achieve that. 

“There has been a lot of public debate about police complaints. I want to hear about people’s real-life experience of their dealings with Police Scotland, as well as gathering evidence from police officers and interested organisations. 

“It is in all our interests – public, police and staff – that we have trust and confidence in the system; know that it is fair, transparent, accountable and proportionate; and be sure that it will always protect the rights of all those involved.” 

Responses to the call for evidence are requested by March 13, 2019. 

 

 

 

 

 

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