Posted: Tuesday 26 February 2013

Police complaints recording procedures in good shape ahead of new police service in Scotland

An audit by the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland shows that over 99 per cent of complaint allegations made by the public about the police are recorded correctly before being investigated.

In total 1640 allegations, contained in 568 individual complaint cases, involving each of the eight police forces in Scotland were examined by the Commissioner's staff in an audit carried out in the second half of last year. 

Inconsistencies were found between forces in the recording of misconduct cases. Some of the forces were found to be recording, for example fixed penalty notices issued to officers as off duty complaints, the Deputy Chief Constable or the Area Procurator Fiscal as the "complainer". The report recommends that for statistical purposes a single recording practice is required for such cases and that they should not be recorded as a complaint about the police. 

The audit also examined final letters issued by the police in response to complaints to ensure people were made aware of their right to request a review by the Commissioner of the way their complaint was handled. Here the police fared less well; although 95 per cent of the 568 cases examined contained this information, it had been omitted on 28 occasions.

Speaking about the audit the Commissioner, Professor John McNeill said:

"The audit findings provide a high level of assurance to the public of the good practice that already exists in this area and that bodes well for the single police service. I am keen that this momentum continues under the single service.  To that end, I will update and re-issue the statutory guidance on complaint recording and handling published in 2011 to reflect the progress made in moving from a blame to a learning culture and the single police service."

Read the full Complaint Recording Phase 2 Audit here

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