284. In addition to the statutory framework on conduct, the police and other agencies rely on guidance documents produced to assist implementation of the statutory obligations. The current set of guidance in operation within and across the main agencies involved in complaints against the police is piecemeal, elderly and incomplete and in some significant respects is inconsistent in approach. That is a matter of serious concern because misunderstandings and conflicts between organisations might arise from members of different agencies working from different texts which have not been fully updated or reconciled to take into account the new legislative framework and the new landscape in which they are operating and exercising their responsibilities.
285. It is recommended that there should be the immediate establishment of a senior cross-agency joint Working Group involving the SPA, Police Scotland and the PIRC to develop appropriate and up‑to‑date guidance drawing on the considerable knowledge and expertise that exists within, and outwith those organisations, consulting other experts and external organisations as and when required.
286. Representation from COPFS to assist with that cross-agency approach would also be extremely helpful. The Crown Office may also wish to consider updating the guidance to the police in this area of their functions and any guidance regarding the PIRC's responsibilities for investigating allegations of criminality.
287. This approach, the remit, the scope of relevant guidance, the membership and chair of the Working Group should be agreed by all from the outset. The Group should report to and take its instructions from the Director‑level cross‑agency Quad meeting referred to in paragraph 278 above.
288. Recommendation: There should be the immediate establishment of a senior cross-agency joint Working Group involving the SPA, Police Scotland and the PIRC to develop appropriate and up‑to‑date guidance.
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