Publication - Progress report

Inspection of the management of criminal allegations against the police by COPFS

Published: 9 Sep 2021
From:
Lord Advocate
Directorate:
Justice Directorate
Part of:
Law and order
ISBN:
9781802012507

HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland's report on how criminal allegations against the police are dealt with by Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

Inspection of the management of criminal allegations against the police by COPFS
Recommendations

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

COPFS should review its policy and practice in relation to the involvement of complainers in the process for managing criminal allegations against the police.

Recommendation 2

COPFS should review its approach to communicating with complainers in cases involving criminal allegations against the police. It should develop a strategy for ensuring that communication is timely, sufficiently frequent, good quality and tailored to the individual needs of the complainer.

Recommendation 3

COPFS should develop guidance for the police on the investigation and reporting of criminal allegations against the police, as well as guidance for its own staff on the handling of such cases.

Recommendation 4

COPFS should make more information publicly available about its role in investigating and prosecuting criminal allegations against the police. COPFS should also publish data regarding its handling of such allegations, and work towards gathering and publishing data that is disaggregated by race and other characteristics.

Recommendation 5

COPFS should ensure that it receives early notification of the existence of criminal allegations against the police. It should require reporting agencies to report criminal allegations within a specified timescale that is commensurate with the nature of the allegation and it should monitor adherence to those timescales.

Recommendation 6

COPFS should consider setting target timescales for reporting agencies to submit investigation reports regarding criminal allegations against the police. It should work with those agencies to consider how best to monitor compliance with the targets.

Recommendation 7

COPFS should work with reporting agencies to review what information about subject officers should be included in reports submitted to CAAP-D.

Recommendation 8

Pending the introduction of an electronic reporting system for criminal allegations against the police, COPFS should ensure that it records the receipt of such reports as soon as possible after they have been submitted (such as by the next working day).

Recommendation 9

COPFS should review its processes and its training for CAAP-D staff to ensure that it meets its disclosure obligations in related cases.

Recommendation 10

COPFS should review its use of experts in cases involving criminal allegations against the police to ensure they are sufficiently independent when this is appropriate in the circumstances of the case. COPFS should also work with the police to improve the quality of expert reports and ensure that the reports include a declaration regarding any potential conflict of interest.

Recommendation 11

COPFS should review its process for transferring criminal allegations against the police to local court for prosecution.

Recommendation 12

COPFS should consider appointing 'CAAP champions' in each Sheriffdom who will have responsibility for and oversight of the prosecution of all criminal allegations against the police.

Recommendation 13

COPFS should review its induction processes and operational guidance for CAAP-D staff.

Recommendation 14

COPFS should work with its partners to introduce an electronic reporting system for criminal allegations against the police.

Recommendation 15

COPFS should provide written guidance to its staff and to reporting agencies covering the definition of on and off duty criminal allegations against the police. COPFS should also work with reporting agencies to ensure they submit on and off duty cases via the correct route.

Recommendation 16

COPFS should ensure that there is strategic oversight of how on and off duty criminal allegations against the police are managed, and greater dialogue between those responsible for handling each type of allegation.

Recommendation 17

COPFS should provide guidance to the police on ensuring that SPRs are completed with the correct occupation information.

Recommendation 18

COPFS should clarify the purpose of its approach to off duty criminal complaints against the police and design a process for handling such cases that supports that purpose. All relevant staff should be made aware of the process and it should be followed in all off duty cases.


Contact

Email: carolyn.sharp@gov.scot