Publication - Progress report

Complaints, investigations and misconduct in policing: implementation of recommendations - thematic progress report - December 2021

Second thematic progress report following publication of Dame Eish Angiolini’s final report setting out implementation progress with details of the status and lead responsibility for each recommendation.

Complaints, investigations and misconduct in policing: implementation of recommendations - thematic progress report - December 2021
Theme 6: Conduct and Standards

Theme 6: Conduct and Standards

Legislation, either primary or secondary, will be required to implement the majority of the recommendations under this theme. As set out in the table below, discussions with operational partners, staff associations and other jurisdictions are taking place on the detail of those recommendations. That engagement is essential in developing legislative proposals and will continue. Further additional discussions with wider stakeholders, including trade unions, are also planned ahead of full public consultation in 2022.

To avoid pre-empting this on-going engagement and consultation, this report focusses on the recommendations under this theme which can be implemented without legislation.

Senior officer conduct process

Following the SPA's review of its Complaints Handling Procedures and Guidance on Senior Officer Conduct Regulations, which was highlighted in the last thematic progress report, Recommendation 26 and Preliminary Report Recommendation 18 have now been implemented and are therefore complete. The SPA's review of its Guidance on Senior Officer Conduct Regulations, which incorporated consultation feedback from the PIRC, Police Scotland's Professional Standards Department, the Scottish Chief Police Officers Staff Association (SCPOSA) and other key stakeholders, was approved by the SPA's Complaints and Conduct Committee in August 2021. While Preliminary Report Recommendation 19 would require legislation to amend conduct Regulations, this revised guidance does address points raised in this recommendation by ensuring that certain factors, such as anonymity and potential vexatious basis of complaints, are taken into account in preliminary assessments.

The revised SPA Complaints Handling Procedures, which incorporated consultation feedback from the PIRC and SCPOSA, and were noted as awaiting sign-off in the last thematic progress report, were also approved by the SPA's Complaints and Conduct Committee in August 2021. Those revised procedures have since been published by the SPA. Therefore, Preliminary Report Recommendation 16 is now also complete.

Further updates

Details on progress against other recommendations under this theme are set out in the table below:

Theme 6: Conduct and Standards

Progress Overview for the period 1 May to 30 September 2021

Recommendations

Lead

Current Position

22

Gross misconduct proceedings to continue even if /after officer leaves

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation. Similarly, discussions with the Irish Government are planned to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in Ireland.

23

For gross misconduct cases for all ranks, PIRC to consider continuation of disciplinary proceedings for former officers beyond 12 months

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation.

24

UK wide barred and advisory lists

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation. Similarly, discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive are planned to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in Northern Ireland.

25

Preliminary assessment to move from SPA to PIRC

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022.

26

PIRC to collaborate with SPA on preliminary assessment process (until legislative change is in place)

SPA/PIRC

Complete

Draft revisions made to SPA Guidance (including the preliminary assessment process) following liaison with PIRC, Police Scotland and SCPOSA, prior to further consultation with key stakeholders. A meeting also took place between the Commissioner and SPA Chief Executive, with revised Guidance then presented and approved at August 2021 Complaints & Conduct Committee. This links to recommendation PR18.

27

Composition of Gross Misconduct Hearing panels, including independent legally qualified chair

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation. Similarly, discussions with the Irish Government are planned to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in Ireland.

28

Police Appeals Tribunal role in appeals to continue following transfer to SCTS

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation.

39

PIRC to handle key stages of senior officer misconduct proceedings.

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation. Similarly, discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive and Irish Government are planned to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in both Northern Ireland and Ireland.

40

PIRC to have new statutory function to present cases in senior officer gross misconduct hearings

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation. Similarly, discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive and Irish Government are planned to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in both Northern Ireland and Ireland.

41

PIRC power to recommend suspension of senior officer

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation. Similarly, discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive and Irish Government are planned to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in both Northern Ireland and Ireland.

51

Faster misconduct hearings in certain circumstances

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation. Similarly, discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive are planned to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in Northern Ireland.

52

Gross misconduct proceedings to be held in public

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation. Similarly, discussions with the Irish Government are planned to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in Ireland.

53

Chair to consider protecting vulnerable witnesses including officer who is the subject of Gross misconduct proceedings

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation.

54

Scottish Ministers to have powers to consult on and issue guidance in respect of conduct, conferring duties to have regard to guidance, also introducing Reflective Practice Reviews

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation.

55

Statutory provision for Joint misconduct proceedings, including senior officers

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation.

56

Provision for misconduct allegations against probationers to be dealt with during probation period

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation.

57

Alternatives to suspension to be added to regulations

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation.

58

Outcome of gross misconduct proceedings to be made public

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022. Discussions are also underway with the UK Government to better understand the systems and arrangements in place in England and Wales to help consider this recommendation.

PR16

Complaints against senior officers should be prioritised and dealt with as speedily as possible

SPA/PIRC

Complete

Revised SPA Complaints Handling Procedures developed and subject to PIRC/SCPOSA consultation prior to publication of Dame Elish Angiolini's Final Report. A final review was undertaken to ensure alignment with PIRC Statutory Guidance and revised Senior Officer Conduct Guidance, before being approved for publication at SPA Complaints & Conduct Committee in August 2021.

PR18

SPA to consider alternative options for senior officers other than suspension

SPA

Complete

SPA considered this as part of the revisions made to the SPA Guidance on Senior Officer Conduct Regulations following liaison with PIRC, Police Scotland and SCPOSA, prior to further consultation with key stakeholders. Revised Guidance was presented and approved at August 2021 Complaints & Conduct Committee. This links to recommendation 26.

PR19

Preliminary assessment to take factors into account, such as anonymity and potential vexatious basis

Scottish Government

In progress

Initial discussions with operational partners and staff associations have taken place on this recommendation ahead of a full public consultation in 2022.


Contact

Email: police_division_hub_mailbox@gov.scot