Complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing - final report: joint Scottish Government and Crown Office response

Joint response to Dame Elish Angiolini from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Lord Advocate following publication of the final report of her independent review of complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing In Scotland.

Theme 7 - Training & HR

Throughout both reports, Dame Elish emphasises the importance of training and review of working practices to improve processes and the experiences of those engaging with the police complaints, investigations and misconduct systems. It is critical that all staff and officers are able to deal with complaints empathetically and knowledgably and while making a number of recommendations for improvement, Dame Elish also commends the commitment to training across the organisations.


All partners have welcomed the recommendations on training, recognising the need for the staff with the right skills and are committed to taking these forward. Training and HR are primarily operational matters for each of the organisations to take forward internally, with no legislation required and we are pleased to see progress already underway:

  • Police Scotland has introduced an induction package for all officers and support staff in its Professional Standards Department (PSD). This will be developed further into a full day of training (Final Report recommendation 6).
  • Police Scotland has appointed a training coordinator to help maintain momentum and liaise with partners on training opportunities (Final Report recommendation 62).
  • As part of the national training programme, police probationers are given an overview of the role of the PSD with a focus on Standards of Professional Behaviour (Preliminary Report recommendation 9).
  • Police Scotland will review training on how to deal effectively with individuals who display mental ill-health symptoms or related behaviours (Final Report recommendation 67), with PIRC also considering the provision of mental health training to staff.
  • PIRC, Police Scotland and the SPA continue to work together to develop joint training and explore best practice (Final Report recommendation 65).
  • PIRC has agreed to identify and develop training opportunities for its staff, in collaboration with partners, with options for work shadowing to be explored when COVID-19 restrictions allow (Final Report recommendation 63) and in-house expertise used to deliver internal training on the law of evidence (Final Report recommendation 64).

HR & Workforce

Implementation of the recommendations relating to HR are operational matters for the organisations involved. We welcome the publication of Police Scotland's first Strategic Workforce Plan (SWP) on 22 January 2021. This plan has been developed to ensure that the service is best placed to meet changing demands and serve Scotland's communities. It will be an important tool to support Police Scotland and the SPA to ensure they have the right people with the right skills in the right places. The SWP links in to the recommendations in Dame Elish's Reports, with the SWP including issues such as rank ratios, diversity and inclusion, and training (Preliminary Report, recommendation 3). For that reason, we won't go into further detail on specific recommendations but note that Police Scotland is reviewing workloads and supervisory ratios (Final Report recommendation 11), further enhancements to the process for assessing officers readiness for promotion (Final Report recommendation 14), and we welcome steps taken to improve mediation and grievance procedures (Preliminary Report, recommendations 4 and 9).

In relation to the proposal for non-police officers to replace officers in PIRC (Preliminary Report recommendation 24), this is clearly an operational matter for the PIRC and we note the positive trend to recruit investigators from other investigative backgrounds and PIRC's commitment to continuing this trend particularly through its investigative trainee programme.



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