Issued on behalf of the inspectorate of prosecution in Scotland.
The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland has today published a follow–up report on Fatal Accident Inquiries (FAIs). The report examines issues raised in the Fatal Accident Inquiries report published by the inspectorate in August 2016.
Michelle McLeod, HM Chief Inspector said:
“Given it is almost three years since the thematic FAI report was published, the lack of progress in many areas is disappointing. While there has been some improvement in the timelines for conducting FAIs, the time taken to conclude mandatory FAIs remains a concern as does their age profile with 20 inquiries more than 3 years old.
“Failing to deal with FAIs expeditiously not only impacts on nearest relatives, it causes distress and concern for potential witnesses who may have to give evidence at the FAI and, in some cases, undermines public confidence in the inquiry.
“We identified a number of factors causing delays including investigations characterised by lengthy periods of inactivity. Undoubtedly resourcing has been an issue for the Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit (SFIU) and we acknowledge that it is not yet at full complement following additional resource that was secured in 2018 and that it takes time to induct and train new staff. The ongoing modernisation project should also improve the effectiveness of their processes and procedures.
“We have made three new recommendations including the prioritisation of the FAI of the death of young persons in legal custody.
“Given the number of recommendations that remain in progress and the continuing concerns regarding delays in dealing with mandatory FAIs and the new recommendations made in this report, the Inspectorate plans to re-visit the investigation of FAIs in a further follow-up report next year.”
The report can be accessed online at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/follow-up-review-fatal-accident-inquiries/