The Rt. Hon Dame Elish Angiolini, DBE QC was commissioned in 2018 to undertake an independent review of complaints handling, investigations and misconduct in relation to policing in Scotland. In establishing this review, the Scottish Government and Crown Office sought to bring greater fairness, transparency, accountability and proportionality, protecting the human rights of all involved. 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, creating a platform for bold reform of this complex landscape.
The review's final report, published on 11 November 2020, assessed the current framework and reported on the effectiveness of structures, operational responsibilities and processes. The final report included 81 recommendations for improvements covering a wide range of areas. This is in addition to 30 recommendations in the preliminary report published in June 2019.
The Scottish Government and Crown Office issued a joint response to the Review in February 2021, with 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. The Scottish Government is engaging with partners and stakeholders in developing proposals for full public consultation later in the year.
As set out in the Scottish Government/Crown Office response (hereafter 'the joint response'), a new governance and reporting framework has been put in place to co-ordinate and provide assurance to Ministers on implementation progress. Since publication of the response, meetings of the Ministerial Group, the Strategic Oversight Group and Practitioner Working Group have taken place, supporting collaboration and identifying where further deliberation is required.
In line with commitments made to the Scottish Parliament, and in keeping with the strong theme of transparency and accessibility running through the Review, the Scottish Government is publishing thematic reports setting out key developments on a triannual basis. This first Thematic Progress Report is structured under nine themes, setting out progress towards implementation of improvement recommendations from both reports.
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. This report highlights the key developments under each of the themes and records the current status of each of the recommendations, including those where we believe the recommendation has been delivered. There are also a number of recommendations where, although they have reached completion, are awaiting approval for sign off and will, therefore, be discharged in the next Progress Report.