Discretion on monitoring prisoners in transit may be removed
An independent investigation has recommended that Police Scotland reviews guidance given to officers regarding the monitoring of people being transported in police vehicles.
It comes after a 25-year-old woman suffered severe burns when she set fire to her clothing in the back of a police van in Glasgow on April 27, 2019.
The incident was referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) the same day and a subsequent investigation found that the woman had been placed in handcuffs behind her back following a report of a disturbance. However, she struggled violently with the arresting officers, making it impossible for them to search her thoroughly at the time. As a result, the lighter she was carrying was not discovered.
During transit to London Road police station, the escorting officer chose not to sit in the rear-facing observation seats, which would have allowed him to monitor the woman throughout the journey.
The officer did not see her setting fire to herself with the lighter until the flames had taken substantial hold. The woman suffered severe burns to her thigh.
Standard operating procedure allows some discretion for officers on the monitoring of people being transported in police vehicles. Investigators for the PIRC have recommended that this be reviewed following the incident.