The Commissioner must, if directed to do so by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service, investigate:
- any circumstances in which there is an indication that a person serving with the police may have committed an offence
- the circumstances of any death involving a person serving with the police which the Procurator Fiscal is required to investigate under the Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths Inquiry (Scotland) Act 1976
The PIRC must also investigate any allegation of misconduct referred by the SPA, if the Commissioner assesses that the matter, if proved, would amount to gross misconduct.
- the death or serious injury of a person who had direct or indirect contact with the police at or before his or her death or serious injury where this is an indication that the contact may have caused, or contributed to, the death or serious injury
- the use by police of a firearm, taser or CS spray.
- any circumstance in which there has been a serious incident involving the police which is a circumstance involving a member of the Authority's staff
- potential misconduct by a senior officer of Police Scotland if the Authority considers that the matter needs to be investigated.
Matters relating to the Scottish Police Authority or Police Scotland where the Commissioner considers that it would be in the public interest to do so.
PIRC investigators have the powers and privileges of a constable when investigating on behalf of the Commissioner. This includes powers to detain, arrest, question, report for prosecution, seize productions, including firearms, drugs and any other materials or documents.
Investigators, acting on behalf of the Commissioner, can enter any premises used by the Scottish Police Authority or Police Scotland, search and seize anything found therein, require any relevant documents.
Investigators can require the co-operation of any member of Police Scotland or Scottish Police Authority's staff.
A senior officer is a person of the rank of Assistant Chief Constable or above.
Does the Chief Constable have to refer all incidents to the Commissioner that involve the use of batons?
No, although the Chief Constable can choose to do.