Working Together to Deliver Improvements
Dame Elish's vision was to improve the way complaints and misconduct are handled. She stated that 'it should be easy to complain, easy to get a response and easy to learn the lessons.' The report identified barriers and examined how these could be reduced or removed to make the systems more accessible and improve the experience of all those involved in the process including the public, victims and witnesses of crime, as well as police officers.
Since publication of Dame Elish's reports, policing partners have driven forward programmes of work aimed at removing or reducing those barriers identified by Dame Elish and in some instances have gone further than the recommendations to ensure that the benefits and improvements made are fit for purpose and are sustainable for the future, including:
- The development and roll out of a new operating model for complaint handling within Police Scotland with all complaints managed by dedicated teams within the Professional Standards Department (PSD) rather than local policing. This is supported by a revised handling process (Frontline Resolution Process) to improve early resolution and consistent service delivery to complainers, thus ensuring greater public confidence in the process.
- New and revised training products and guidance have been developed and rolled out by Police Scotland, SPA and PIRC to enhance workforce capability in number of key areas, including complaint handling and resolution; law of evidence; unconscious bias and supporting individuals with mental health trauma.
- Revised SPA guidance on Senior Officer Conduct procedures rolled out, to improve current processes in advance of legislative change.
- Significant improvements made by all partners (Police Scotland, SPA, PIRC and COPFS) to improve accessibility for members of the public to the police complaints process, and clear signposting on how to make criminal allegations to COPFS directly which is now visible on all partner websites. Police Scotland also introduced use of a QR code to access the complaints section of their website.
- The launch of the Policing Together Strategy which brings together multiple strands of work already in progress within Police Scotland to improve equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), bolstered by the Chief Constable's commitment to ensure there is no tolerance for misogyny, racism and discrimination in the ranks or across wider society.
These are just a few examples of how Dame Elish's independent review has been the catalyst for systemic cultural change and organisational development. Although primarily aimed at Police Scotland, through continued collaborative working and wider ambition in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion, it has also led to improvements being made by other policing partners to change culture and attitudes within policing.
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