Recorded police warnings correspondence: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. All correspondence sent between Police Scotland, Crown Office and Scottish Government regarding the proportional response to crime pilot being launched in the north-east of Scotland between April 2023 and the date of this FOI.

2. In Scottish Parliament on September 13, Angela Constance said “operational guidelines that Police Scotland operate to is indeed publicly available, and they're very clear about the types and severity of offences that are not appropriate for a recorded police warning. That information is publicly available" when asked about Recorded Police Warnings. However, the Lord Advocate Guidelines section of this information is completely redacted. So can you substantiate Ms Constance's claim that they are "publicly available."

3. All briefings prepared for ministers about recorded police warnings between June 2023 and the date of this FOI.


In regards to requests 1 and 3 as set out above, I enclose a copy of some of the information you requested in Annex B to this letter. Whilst our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because of an exemption under the following regulations:

Section 38(1)(b): Personal information and Section 30(b)(i): free and frank provision of advice. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained in ANNEX A to this letter.

In regards to request 2, as you have set out, there are publicly available Police Scotland Standard Operating Procedures for recorded police warnings (RPW) online. These provide information on the circumstances where an officer may issue an RPW and other details of the scheme. However, the guidance issued by the Lord Advocate to police in relation to their operation of the Recorded Police Wanting scheme are confidential. Lord Advocate’s Guidelines or prosecution policy and guidance is only published where its publication would not, or would not be likely to, prejudice substantially the prevention or detection of crime; the apprehension or prosecution of offenders; or the administration of justice. Prejudice may include allowing offenders to circumvent the law by restricting their offending to conduct which falls short of a prosecution threshold or, for example, a threshold which determines the prosecution forum. Scotland’s prosecution service carefully balances the need for confidentiality in its procedures with a commitment to transparency and accountability. Decisions on publishing guidance are for the Lord Advocate and are considered in detail and kept under review.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202300376197 - Information Released - Annex A
FOI 202300376197 - Information Released - Annex B


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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