Policing - complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues: independent review - preliminary report

Dame Elish Angiolini's independent review addresses complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing in Scotland, in the wake of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012.

List of All Recommendations

1. Recommendation: Given the importance and sensitivity of such allegations it is recommended that all such allegations of excessive force should continue to be reported immediately by PSD to CAAP‑D for instruction and investigation by the independent Procurator Fiscal or by PIRC on the directions of the Procurator Fiscal of CAAP-D.

2. Recommendation: Police Scotland should review the service‑wide capability of its line managers to line manage effectively, including the adequacy of training and mechanisms of support for line managers.

3. Recommendation: Police Scotland should consider the scope for employing more non‑police officer support staff in PSD with appropriate seniority, skills and level of knowledge of complaints handling. This is an option that Police Scotland may wish to ask HMICS to review.

4. Recommendation: Police Scotland should scrutinise complaints thoroughly on receipt so as to ensure that grievance matters that would in any other walk of life be treated in an HR context are not artificially elevated and dealt with as conduct matters.

5. Recommendation: Frontline resolution of complaints should be subject to close and regular monitoring through regular, meaningful internal and external audits, and monitoring of decision‑making.

6. Recommendation: Police Scotland should adjust its practice in respect of "Early intervention". Officers should be made aware that they are the subject of a complaint against them at the earliest practicable point, provided that such early disclosure would not prejudice any investigation of a complaint.

7. Recommendation: PIRC should be given appropriate access to the Police Scotland Centurion system for the purposes of contemporaneous audit of complaints and to help facilitate early PIRC awareness of criminal allegations.

8. Recommendation: Police Scotland should simplify and streamline systems to make it as straightforward as possible for members of the public to navigate this rather opaque landscape and as easy as possible for them to access and understand information on how to make a complaint. In particular the online complaints form on the Police Scotland website should be made more prominent.

9. Recommendation: To encourage appropriate use of mediation and grievance procedures Police Scotland should raise awareness and understanding amongst all members of the service of their own internal systems and which matters belong where in order to ensure a proportionate response.

10. Recommendation: Police Scotland should consider the importance of providing all officers involved in frontline resolution with training in mediation and customer handling.

11. Recommendation: Police Scotland should accelerate its plans to expand the use of body‑worn video technology.

12. Recommendation: Police Scotland is a young but now established national organisation with a stable leadership team. This is a good opportunity to reflect on the culture of the new service, address any long-standing issues and consider how everyone in the organisation can help to change that culture for the better.

13. Recommendation: The Scottish Government should consider the case for amending the legislation to include a provision to deal with vexatious complainers.

14. Recommendation: Subject to the fundamental right to silence or privilege against self‑incrimination of a suspect under Article 6 of Convention Rights, police officers should give every assistance after a serious incident. That assumption of co‑operation should be put beyond doubt in the primary legislation, including in the wording of the constable's declaration.

15. Recommendation: Where a serious incident is being investigated by the PIRC, the investigators should also have a power, where it is necessary and proportionate, to compel police officers to attend within a reasonable timescale for interview.

16. Recommendation: Complaints against senior officers should be prioritised and dealt with, by both the PIRC and the SPA, as speedily as is reasonable, because of the destabilising impact a prolonged investigation can have.

17. Recommendation: Further training for complaints and conduct officers in SPA should be consolidated and broadened in order to ensure the right skillset and up‑to‑date knowledge of complaint handling best practice in other sectors.

18. Recommendation: The range of options available to the SPA when a senior police officer is under investigation under the conduct regulations should be clarified and expanded, to provide alternatives to suspension.

19. Recommendation: Any process for preliminary assessment of senior officer misconduct should require the relevant authority both to take into account whether the allegation is made anonymously, is specific in time and location, or whether it appears, on the face of the allegation, to be either vexatious or malicious. Scottish Government should consider amending the conduct regulations to reflect this process.

20. Recommendation: The PIRC should consider the case for creating some measure of regional presence to enhance its capacity to respond immediately to the most serious incidents wherever they occur.

21. Recommendation: The PIRC should have the support of a new statutory Board of members appointed through the Scottish public appointments process whose role would be to scrutinise the work of the organisation, review the performance of the Commissioner and offer supportive advice and expertise.

22. Recommendation: The Commissioner, or potentially a Deputy Commissioner, should be vested with a statutory power to make recommendations in addition to the existing powers to direct reconsideration of complaints. The corollary to that is that there should be a statutory duty, subject to a public interest test, on the Chief Constable to comply with recommendations unless there are sound overriding operational or practical reasons for not complying with a PIRC recommendation and an obligation on PSD to report progress back to the PIRC. Those statutory arrangements should be supported by agreement between the PIRC and Police Scotland on how the PIRC will be kept advised of progress.

23. Recommendation: The PIRC should consider the case for building into its structure legal support and advice capacity.

24. Recommendation: Following the retirement of former police officers PIRC policy should be to replace them with non-police officers. The PIRC should also adopt a similar policy to the IOPC's in England and Wales by recruiting non‑police officers when recruiting to the most senior posts.

25. Recommendation: There should be a management review by an independent expert to ensure that the PIRC has appropriate leadership, skills and culture to carry out its functions in the future, and to examine interactions with other stakeholders and how they can be improved.

26. 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.

27. Recommendation: All the audit arrangements, including regular dip‑sampling, designed to identify poor practice, good practice and emerging trends should be prioritised and co‑ordinated to support the common objective of improving standards and service to the public.

28. Recommendation: The Scottish Government should introduce Barred and Advisory lists and should engage with the UK Government to ensure compatibility and learn from their experience.

29. Recommendation: The Scottish Government should amend the relevant provisions at the earliest opportunity to put beyond doubt the definition of a "person serving with the police".

30. Recommendation: The Scottish Government should consider the case for amending the legislation to put beyond doubt the definition of a member of the public who may make a relevant complaint.



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