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

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

Appendix 1: Key terms

Accused: person charged with committing a crime.

Advanced Notice Trial (ANT): allocation of a trial case for advanced preparation to a dedicated prosecutor.

Advocates Depute: Advocates Depute are prosecutors appointed by the Lord Advocate. Advocates Depute prosecute all cases in the High Court and present appeals in the appeal court.

CAAP-D: Criminal Allegations Against the Police Division, a specialist unit of COPFS.

Case preparer: members of COPFS staff who interview witnesses and prepare cases.

Charge: the crime that the accused person is suspected of having committed.

Complainer: the person who made the allegation.

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS): the independent public prosecution service in Scotland. It is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of crime, the investigation of sudden, unexplained or suspicious deaths, and the investigation of criminal allegations against the police.

Crown Counsel: collective term for the Law Officers (Lord Advocate and Solicitor General) and Advocates Deputes.

Crown Counsel's instructions: instructions by Crown Counsel to prosecutors.

Custody case: when a person is kept in police custody until the case is heard in court.

Law Officers: the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General.

Lord Advocate: Ministerial Head of COPFS. She is the senior of the two Law Officers, the other being the Solicitor General.

Marking: decision of action to be taken.

NICP: National Initial Case Processing Unit.

No action decision: a decision made by a prosecutor not to prosecute or to take any action for an offence reported by the police or other reporting agency.

No further action: a decision made by a prosecutor to discontinue a prosecution against an accused for an offence that has commenced in court.

Off duty criminal allegation: an allegation of criminality made against a police officer, police staff or special constable while they are off duty.

On duty criminal allegation: an allegation of criminality made against a police officer, police staff or special constable while they are on duty.

Petition: formal document served on accused in solemn proceedings. It gives notice of the charges being considered by the Procurator Fiscal.

PIRC: Police Investigations and Review Commissioner.

Precognition: an interview of a witness by COPFS or a defence lawyer to help them find out more about a crime and prepare for a court case.

Procurators Fiscal: legally qualified prosecutors who receive reports about crimes from the police and other agencies and make decisions on what action to take in the public interest and where appropriate prosecute cases.

Production: an item shown in court as evidence.

PSD: Professional Standards Department (police).

Report case: where a person has been released after arrest and a report is sent to the Procurator Fiscal, who will decide what action to take.

Roll-up: where two or more Standard Police Reports are amalgamated into the one COPFS case.

Scottish Police Authority (SPA): established by the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, the role of the SPA is to maintain the police service, oversee and scrutinise policing in Scotland, hold the Chief Constable to account, and support improvement in policing.

Scottish Police Federation: represents all police officers in the ranks of constable, sergeant, inspector and chief inspector, and special constables.

Scottish Prosecution Code: sets out the criteria for decision making and the range of options available to prosecutors dealing with reports of crime.

Senior officer: any officer holding the rank of Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable or Assistant Chief Constable.

Solemn procedure: prosecution of serious criminal cases before a judge and a jury in the High Court or Sheriff Court.

Solicitor General: the Solicitor General is the Lord Advocate's deputy. She is also a Minister of the Scottish Government.

SPR: Standard Police Report (also sometimes called Standard Prosecution Report).

Subject officer: the police officer or member of police staff against whom a criminal allegation is made.

Sufficiency of evidence: evidence from at least two independent sources that the crime was committed and that the accused was the perpetrator of the crime.

Summary proceedings: prosecutions in the Sheriff or Justice of the Peace Court before a judge without a jury.

Timebar: the end of the time limit which regulates the maximum length of time that can elapse prior to the commencement of proceedings for accused persons, whether they are held in custody or granted bail.

Undertaking: the document signed by someone who has been arrested and released on police bail after promising to come to court at a later date and agreeing to certain conditions, such as not committing any other crimes.

VIA: Victim Information and Advice Service (part of COPFS), which offers assistance to some victims and witnesses.



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