Police complaints, investigations and misconduct

Responses to consultation published.

Gross misconduct proceedings against police officers should be allowed to continue after they resign from the force to promote transparency and maintain public confidence, according to a public consultation.

The move, which would see proceedings continue even if an officer leaves during the course of an investigation into their conduct, was among the recommendations of Dame Elish Angiolini’s independent review into how police complaints and allegations of misconduct should be handled.

There was also broad public support for a statutory ethical code for officers, a requirement for the police to participate openly and promptly in investigations, and for enhanced powers for the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).

Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans Keith Brown said:

“I hugely value the exceptional commitment of Scotland’s dedicated police officers and the valued work they do every day to keep communities safe.

“The policing by consent model that is such a credit to the service can only work where there is trust and confidence in the way officers carry out their duties. In the very small minority of incidents that do require investigation this should be done in an open and transparent way that also respects the rights of the police concerned.

“We will carefully consider all of the consultation responses, to help us shape improvements to Scotland’s system of police complaints and misconduct handling.”


The public consultation responses will inform the development of legislation needed to implement some of Dame Elish's recommendations. The Police Complaints and Misconduct Handling Bill will be introduced to the Parliament in this 2022-23 Parliamentary year.


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