Posted: Monday 24 April 2017

Commissioner issues reconsideration directions to police following review of complaints involving woman with mental health issues


The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) has directed Police Scotland to reconsider 5 complaints from the husband of a woman with mental health issues following an investigation by Police Scotland into a serious crime reported by her.

A total of 5 complaints were reviewed in 426.16. The first complaint was that police officers met with the woman regarding a rape investigation but then proceeded to interrogate her in relation to her still born baby in 2003.

In the second complaint, it was alleged that police officers failed to take her medical conditions into consideration during their meeting, despite having access to her medical records.

The third complaint was that police officers failed to provide support for the woman during their meeting despite her being a vulnerable person and the fourth complaint was that police officers threatened her and told her that she would most likely go to prison in relation to her still born baby.

The fifth complaint alleged that the woman was not given the choice of having a male or female officer interview her.

The review found that none of the complaints were dealt with to a reasonable standard and Police Scotland was directed to reconsider all five of them. They must now appoint a person, who has had no previous involvement in dealing with the complaints, to undertake a re-assessment of all of the complaints.

It relation to complaint 1, further statements should be obtained from a Detective Inspector and two Detective Constables involved in the investigation specifically addressing a number of issues relating to the questioning of the woman.

Police Scotland were also asked to provide a further response to the applicant regarding complaints 2 and 3 that considers whether appropriate steps were taken to assess the woman's vulnerability and to ensure her mental health issues were taken into account. 

In reconsidering complaint 4, the PIRC review said a further statement should be obtained from the applicant that clearly explains which officer(s) made the threat to the woman and the language which was used and that the officer(s) should be given the opportunity to comment on the allegation. 

In respect of complaint 5, Police Scotland should formally record and respond to the applicant's complaint and the response should refer to the provisions of the Appropriate Adult Standard Operating Procedures, reflect the content of the witness statements and adequately explain any conclusions reached.

In another CHR, 570.16, the complaint in this case arose from officers repeatedly attending at the home address of the applicant to search for her son who had absconded from prison.

One complaint was reviewed, namely that officers stood on top of and damaged the applicant's fridge/freezer unit.

The review found that the complaint was dealt with to a reasonable standard. No further action is required in this connection.

In 518.16 complaints arose from the applicant being subject to various police vehicle stops.

One complaint was reviewed, namely that between 2014 and 2015, officers from Police Scotland harassed the applicant by repeatedly stopping him in his vehicle.

The applicant alleges that these stops happened because of reports made to the police by Mr A. The review found that the complaint was not dealt with to a reasonable standard. Two recommendations were made and a learning point identified.

In 473.16 the complaints in this case arose from a police investigation into an allegation of fraud reported by the applicant.

Three complaints were reviewed, namely:

1. that an officer did not contact the applicant in response an email of 2 August 2016;

2. that the officer did not seek the applicant's permission to contact the solicitor dealing with his aunt's estate; and

3. that the officer did not conduct a full investigation.

The review found that two of the complaints were dealt with to a reasonable standard while one was not. One recommendation was made.

In  489.16, the complaint arose from the applicant's car being seized by Police Scotland.

The single complaint considered was that police officers arranged for the removal of the applicant's vehicle when it was not causing an obstruction and without giving the applicant the opportunity to move the car herself.

It was found that the complaint was dealt with to a reasonable standard. No recommendations were made.

In  275.16, the complaints arose from the applicant's application to renew his shot gun certificate.

Four complaints were reviewed, namely:

1. that there was a lack of contact from Police Scotland to progress the applicant's application for the renewal of his shotgun certificate;

2. that the decision not to grant the applicant with a temporary permit was unfair;

3. that the decision to contact the applicant's GP was unjustified and not in line with the Home Office firearms guidelines; and

4. that the officer initially allocated the applicant's complaint enquiry inappropriately discussed matters with an officer subject to the complaint.

The review found that none of the complaints were dealt with to a reasonable standard. Four recommendations were made.

In 458.16, the complaint arose from an allegation of extortion made by the applicant against his ex-partner.

The single complaint considered was that Police Scotland had incorrectly concluded that no crime of extortion had been committed.

The review found that the complaint was dealt with to a reasonable standard. No recommendation was made in this connection.

The complaint in 064.16 arose from the applicant being informed that Police Scotland had received enquiries from the press regarding him being subject to a misconduct investigation.

A single complaint was considered, namely that Police Scotland failed to appropriately investigate possible leaks to the media, and did not advise the applicant of the outcome of this investigation.

The review found that the complaint was dealt with to a reasonable standard, however it was considered necessary to make a recommendation in this connection.   

In 549.16, The complaint arose from the police investigation into an assault allegation made by the applicant's wife.

One complaint was reviewed, namely that an officer submitted a report to the Procurator Fiscal that was inaccurate in relation to where the assault on his wife took place.

The review found that the complaint was dealt with to a reasonable standard. No recommendation was made.

548.16 The complaints in this case arose from the police officers attending to search the applicant’s address under warrant.

Two complaints were reviewed, namely:

1. that an officer refused to let the applicant take his medication; and

2. that an officer activated the blue lights and siren, and overtook other vehicles whilst the applicant was being transported to the police office.

The review found that neither of the complaints were dealt with to a reasonable standard. Two recommendations were made.

In 546.16, the complaints arose from the applicant’s detention in connection with a domestic incident.

Five complaints were reviewed, namely:

1. that officers treated the applicant as a suspect rather than a victim because of his gender;

2. that Police Scotland failed to inform the applicant he had been reported to the Procurator Fiscal;

3. that officers failed to act upon admissions of assault against the applicant made by his ex-partner in her statement to police;

4. that officers failed to deal with the applicant's allegation that his ex-partner had stolen his games console;

5. that police officers forced the applicant to return a motor vehicle to his ex-partner against his will.

The review found that three of the complaints were dealt with to a reasonable standard and two were not. One recommendation was made.

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