Information

Police complaints, investigations and misconduct - legislation: consultation

The aim of the consultation is to seek views on legislative proposals with a view to delivering new laws that improve transparency and further strengthen public confidence in policing following Dame Elish Angiolini's review into Police Complaints Handling, Investigations and Misconduct issues.


Section 4: Liability for unlawful conduct

4.1 Clarifying the liability for unlawful conduct, in relation to the Chief Constable

Policing stakeholders have asked that the Scottish Ministers consider clarifying the liability for unlawful conduct, in relation to the Chief Constable. Section 24(1) of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 makes provision for the Chief Constable to have liability for any unlawful conduct by a constable under his or her direction and control, in the carrying out (or purported carrying out) of that person's functions. This is required as constables are office holders, not employees, and the usual liability arrangements whereby employers are liable for unlawful acts on the part of their employees do not apply.

Section 24(1) provides protections for the victims of unlawful conduct by constables, where the Chief Constable is liable to pay any sum required (including expenses) in relation to the settlement of any such claim against a constable.

In contrast, this section does not provide similar cover to the Chief Constable for unlawful conduct in the carrying out (or purported carrying out) of their functions. Section 24(5) does give discretion to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) to pay any damages or expenses awarded against a constable (including a Chief Constable) in proceedings arising in respect of any unlawful conduct, but this leaves the Chief Constable in a different position to all other constables, who are covered for unlawful conduct while carrying out their functions as constables.

The Scottish Government therefore proposes that section 24 of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 is amended to make provision for the SPA to have liability for any unlawful conduct by a Chief Constable, in the carrying out (or purported carrying out) of that person's functions. This change would ensure that a Chief Constable has the same protections in place as all other constables, when carrying out their functions and would further protect the victims of unlawful conduct, when action is taken against the Chief Constable.

Questions:

A. Should liability for unlawful conduct, provided to all other constables when carrying out their functions, be extended to cover the rank of Chief Constable?

Yes
No
Don't know

B. Please explain your answer using the free text box below.

Contact

Email: policingconsultation2022@gov.scot

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