Complaints, investigations and misconduct
The Independent Review
The Independent Review of Complaints, Investigations and Misconduct in Policing in Scotland, led by Dame Elish Angiolini, concluded in November 2020. The Review jointly commissioned in June 2018 by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Lord Advocate assessed the current framework and processes for handling complaints against the police and for investigating serious incidents and alleged misconduct. It considered current law and practice in terms of how Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) operate separately and together to deliver a comprehensive system for complaints handling, investigations and misconduct in relation to policing in Scotland.
Through her Preliminary Report (June 2019) and Final Report (November 2020), Dame Elish delivered 111 recommendations for improvements to systems, procedures and the legislative framework and work is now underway to implement those improvement recommendations.
Joint Response to the Independent Review
The Scottish Government and Crown Office issued a joint response to the Review in February 2021. The response set out a clear commitment to accept the majority of Dame Elish’s recommendations, many as specifically set out, but with scope to explore options where other routes or mechanisms may achieve the desired outcome. Ministers also committed to bringing forward comprehensive primary legislation to cover the necessary legislative changes to strengthen governance, accountability and a rights based approach, as well as providing a fair and proportionate misconduct process.
Implementation of the recommendations
Since publication of the Preliminary Report, and in light of the Final Report, significant steps have been taken by Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) to progress recommendations, which do not require legislation.
Reporting and governance
In line with commitments made to the Scottish Parliament, and in keeping with the strong theme of transparency and accessibility running through the review, we are reporting on progress setting out key developments as follows:
- the first thematic report published on 24 June 2021
- the second thematic report published on 16 December 2021
- the third thematic report published on 23 June 2022
- the fourth thematic report published on 13 December 2022
The framework consists of a three tier governance structure to oversee and provide assurance on progress towards implementation of recommendations across all partners:
- the Ministerial Group (MG)
- the Strategic Oversight Group (SOG)
- the Practitioner Working Group (PWG)
Read the minutes from the Ministerial Group meeting on Complaints, Investigations and Misconduct in Policing in Scotland, held on 7 June 2022
Read the minutes from the Ministerial Group meeting on Complaints, Investigations and Misconduct in Policing in Scotland, held on 2 December 2021
Read the minutes from the Ministerial Group meeting on Complaints, Investigations and Misconduct in Policing in Scotland, held on 17 June 2021
Read the minutes from the Ministerial Group meeting on Complaints, Investigations and Misconduct in Policing in Scotland, held on 11 March 2021
We publicly consulted on Police Complaints, Investigations and Misconduct legislation between 24 May to 16 August 2022. This delivered our 2021 to 2022 Programme for Government commitment to consult on legislative proposals made by Dame Elish Angiolini’s review, published in November 2020.
We published the consultation analysis on Police Complaints, Investigations And Misconduct legislation (as well as a summary of the consulation analysis) on 30 November 2022. All consultation responses which gave permission to be published are also available. For any further information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are preparing to introduce the Police Complaints and Misconduct Bill to the Scottish Parliament during session 2022 to 2023. This is in response to changes suggested in the independent review of complaints, investigations and misconduct in policing in Scotland, led by Dame Elish Angiolini, which was published in November 2020 and builds on the work delivered by policing partners since.
Programme for Government Bill Announcement
As set out in the Programme for Government on 6 September 2022 the First Minister announced the Police Complaints and Misconduct Handling Bill will be introduced in 2023.
Concerns about the police
If you are contacting us about policing matters, please note that the Scottish Government cannot comment on or intervene in day-to-day operational policing matters, including complaints or questions about particular cases.
If you have concerns about the police you can bring those directly to the attention of Police Scotland using the contact details below:
- complete Police Scotland’s online complaint form
- dial 101 and make a report of your complaint over the telephone
- attend at a police station in person (find your local station)
- write to Police Scotland Professional Standards Department, PO Box 2460, Police Scotland, Dalmarnock, Glasgow, G40 9BA
If you are dissatisfied with the final outcome of that complaint, you can refer the matter to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) who has responsibility to provide independent scrutiny of the way the police respond to complaints from the public. You can contact the PIRC either via their website, by telephone: 01698 542900, email: email@example.com or by writing to PIRC, Hamilton House, Hamilton Business Park, Caird Park, Hamilton, ML3 0QA.
Concerns about the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal
Any concerns about the role played by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) should be raised with them directly. You can find more information about how to make a complaint on the COPFS website. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0300 020 3000 or write to: Response and Information Unit, Crown Office, 25 Chambers Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LA.