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.

Summary of What Happens Next

343. In the preceding chapters of this report a range of important issues are set out that will be considered in depth over the next 12 months and will form the basis of the final report. That final report will be submitted to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and the Lord Advocate in August 2020 and be published at the same time. Between then and now further evidence-gathering will help to inform future recommendations and broaden the range of contributions.

344. Whether they are complainers, victims or families, members of the public have accounts and experiences of the complaints handling system that will help to shape improvements in that system. Engagement with those individuals will also guide my thinking over the next 12 months and I would encourage them to think about volunteering to participate in one of the Review's focus group discussions with me later this year. Anyone who would be willing to contribute in this way should get in touch with the Secretariat at the address below.

345. I look forward to continuing engagement with the Scottish Parliament. The Justice Committee's important report on the 2012 Act made a number of recommendations in the area of complaints and the follow‑up to those recommendations is largely a matter for the organisations to which they were directed. The key issues raised by the Committee will continue to be the subject of consideration.

346. There is much that can be learned from other jurisdictions and sectors and so the second phase of the Review will expand on its engagement with policing organisations in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and also with organisations dealing with complaints outwith the world of policing.

347. Further views and evidence are being sought on a number of major issues which are listed below:

  • The case for structural change across the system.
  • Strengthening the learning culture across the organisations charged with dealing with complaints.
  • Leadership and management culture.
  • Accountability arrangements for the office of Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).
  • The obligation of a constable to assist the investigation of a death or a serious incident.
  • Misconduct proceedings for police officers of all ranks.
  • The role of the media and social media as they relate to the Review's subject matter.
  • Other related structures such as the role of local scrutiny committees and independent custody visiting in police complaints.
  • Jurisdiction over retired police officers.
  • United Kingdom cross‑border jurisdictional issues.
  • Best practice in the other United Kingdom jurisdiction oversight bodies.
  • Potential benefits of the proposed changes to regulations applying to police officers in England and Wales resulting from the Policing and Crime Act 2017.
  • The experience of those who have made complaints over the last six years.

348. In some instances this preliminary report suggests a number of significant options for change and I would welcome responses on those options before 1 December 2019.

349. Further written evidence on any matter discussed or any option set out in this report may be submitted online via the Review website: https://www.gov.scot/groups/independentpolicingreview/ or by writing to or e-mailing the Secretariat at:

Independent Review of Complaints Handling, Investigations and Misconduct Issues in relation to Policing

St Andrew's House
0131 244 7055



21 June 2019


Email: secretariat@independentpolicingreview.scot

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