Complaints, investigations and misconduct in policing: implementation progress report

Fifth thematic progress report following publication of the independent review of complaints, investigations and misconduct in policing in Scotland, setting out implementation progress with details of the status and lead responsibility for each recommendation.


In November 2020 Dame Elish published her final report of the Independent Review of Complaints Handling, Investigations and Misconduct Issues in Relation to Policing which, including 30 made in her Preliminary Report, made a total of 111 recommendations for improvements to complaints and conducts systems, processes, procedures and legislative framework. Roughly two thirds of the recommendations were non-statutory and aimed at operational partners, including Police Scotland, SPA, PIRC, COPFS and HMICS. The remaining ones require primary and secondary legislation, including amendments to reserved legislation, in order to fully implement.

Since 2021 a three-tier governance framework, led by a Ministerial Group, has provided oversight and assurance on the pace and implementation of recommendations, and regular thematic reports have been published to chart progress.

The focus and oversight to date has rightly been on those recommendations which do not require legislation to fully implement with majority of the non-legislative recommendations now signed off by the Ministerial Group as completed. The impacts of the transformative changes made by policing partners go a long way towards improving the experience for those involved in the police complaints process, as well as strengthening our rights-based approach and the commitment to ongoing improvement and progress.

However, there is recognition from all policing partners that further assessment will be required at a future date to ensure that steps taken to implement those recommendations have delivered the intended outcome and that improvements are sustained through a process of continuous review and development.

This report gives a summary of the journey so far. As we move into the next phase of reform and the introduction of legislation, we can be confident that all of the work delivered so far has laid strong foundations on which to build and enable further improvements to the system of complaints handling and investigations.



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