Posted: Monday 11 February 2013

Former Care Inspectorate regional manager joins police watchdog as Head of Investigations

The Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland (PCCS) has appointed Irene Scullion to the new post of Head of Investigations as he prepares to take on an expanded remit from April.

Ms Scullion will be responsible for ensuring that the team of 20 investigators is deployed efficiently and effectively when the PCCS becomes the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC). Reporting to John Mitchell, who was appointed Director of Investigations in November last year, she will also act as his deputy.

Ms Scullion was previously a Regional Manager with the Care Inspectorate where she managed a team of 60 staff regulating care services, inspecting local authorities' delivery of social work services and scrutinising services provided by statutory agencies for children in need.

John Mitchell Director of Investigations said: The Commissioner and I are delighted to welcome Irene to the organisation at this exciting time. The complexity of investigations that we will be undertake requires a Head of Investigations with extensive experience, expertise and judgement. Irene has demonstrated these qualities in her career and is accustomed to operating in a high profile and highly sensitive environment. She brings a range of skills that complement my own and I am confident that she will quickly make a significant contribution to the investigations team. 

Irene Scullion said: I am looking forward to meeting the team and to the challenge that lies ahead as we prepare to take on the expanded remit of the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner."

This latest appointment is part of an ongoing recruitment programme that will see people from a broad range of backgrounds join the team as either Investigators and Deputy Senior Investigators.

By the end of February a 20-strong team that includes people who have previously worked in the Fire Service, Trading Standards, UKBA, the special investigations unit of the armed services and other oversight bodies will be in place. Later this year a further two places will be created for trainee investigators with no prior investigations experience. These people, according John Mitchell, will become the lifeblood of the organisation and will be joined by others in the coming years.

He said: With the trainee programme we are sowing the seeds for the future investigations team at PIRC . This will provide assurance to the public that PIRC has a plan in place from day one to build an investigative capability from the ground up, they will be the lifeblood of the organisation.

My aim throughout the recruitment process has been to bring in professionals from as wide and diverse a background as possible. At the same time I have to be satisfied that the people joining PIRC have the right skills and experience, so that we are operationally ready for 1 April. That means that initially some of the team will inevitably be former police officers, who bring the very specific and current investigations expertise we need to be effective."

From April, PIRC will carry out independent investigations into policing in Scotland. This will include criminal allegations made against the police, death or serious injury in police custody or following police contact, police use of firearms, complaints against senior officers and any relevant police matters where the Commissioner considers it would be in the public interest to do so.

Currently, these incidents are investigated by another police force in Scotland at the request of the Chief Constable or at the direction of Crown. However, the advent of a single Police Service of Scotland means that this option would not provide the assurance required by the public that there was effective oversight of the police in Scotland.

The PIRC will provide independent oversight of Police Scotland, the second largest police service in the UK, behind the Metropolitan Police in London.

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