Posted: Tuesday 25 April 2017

Commissioner issues Learning Point in complaint handling review after man was strip searched by police

The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) has made 2 recommendations and issued a learning point following a complaint handling review in which a man was strip searched when he was taken into police custody.

The man had asked for 4 complaints to be reviewed. In complaints 1 and 2 he alleged that a police officer did not identify himself and that an officer acted in an intimidating manner and harassed him.

With regard to complaint 3, the man said he was strip searched by officers and the reason for the search was not explained to him and the fourth complaint concerned an allegation that an officer threw his shoes on the floor and made a remark.

In a complaint handling review published today (453.16), the PIRC said complaints 1 and 2 had been dealt with to a reasonable standard but complaint 3 and 4 had not.

A recommendation has been made in respect of complaint 3 that the man should be provided with a further response explaining the reasons behind the strip search.  

A further recommendation was made that Police Scotland conduct enquiries to establish why steps were not taken to seize CCTV footage upon receipt of the man's complaint.

The PIRC noted that Police Scotland's Standard Operating Procedure on Complaints does not specify what steps should be taken to quickly secure CCTV footage. As a result, a learning point has been issued for Police Scotland to consider whether or not current procedures are robust enough to ensure that steps are taken to identify and secure CCTV footage that may be required and would be lost if not seized within a short period of time.

In a separate CHR, 517.16, involving a man's vehicle being seized by police, one complaint was reviewed. This was that officers failed to use a free uplift facility causing the man to incur a cost of £150 when he attended to collect his vehicle.

The review found the complaint was dealt with to a reasonable standard. No recommendations were made.

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