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Investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes: review

The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland's review of the investigation and prosecution of sexual crimes by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

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Recommendations

Recommendation 1:
COPFS should develop a policy of exception reporting to NSCU at the initial decision-making stage of the investigative process.

Recommendation 2:
COPFS should revise the target dates for the submission of the Investigative Agreement to Crown Counsel to enable a more detailed instruction on the direction of the investigation and of the case by Crown Counsel. The target dates should be monitored and rigorously enforced.

Recommendation 3:
COPFS should consider undertaking the indicting process prior to the case being reported to NSCU for a final instruction.

Recommendation 4:
COPFS should introduce a more sophisticated system of allocating cases for indicting to reflect the priority that is to be afforded to certain categories of cases.

Recommendation 5:
COPFS should restrict pre-petition investigation to only those inquiries that are essential to reach a decision on whether there is sufficient credible and reliable evidence.

Recommendation 6:
COPFS should take account of any period of pre-petition investigation when allocating reporting dates for cases to be reported to NSCU for a final decision.

Recommendation 7:
COPFS should ensure that VIA pro-actively offer to contact the victim every eight weeks, as a minimum, unless more frequent contact is required or requested or a victim expressly opts out.

Recommendation 8:
COPFS should ensure that there is a dedicated VIA Officer allocated to each case and provide victims with information on who to contact in their absence.

Recommendation 9:
COPFS should consider re-branding VIA to include a reference to “prosecution” in their title.

Recommendation 10:
COPFS should review all correspondence sent out by VIA.

Recommendation 11:
COPFS should discuss and agree special measures at the interview with the case preparer in the context of preparing the victim or witness for court.

Recommendation 12:
COPFS should ensure that a court management strategy is agreed with every victim and relevant agencies following service of the indictment as part of the Victim Strategy.

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