Posted: Thursday 20 September 2012

Commissioner to test complaints systems ahead of single force in Scotland

The Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland is to carry out a series of audits across Scotland's eight police forces examining how they categorise and handle complaints from the public.

The decision to undertake the audit comes just months before the forces merge and will establish a baseline on which progress can be measured and monitored in the future.

The audit is the second examination of police complaints processes. Earlier this year, the Commissioner, Professor John McNeill published the results of a complaint recording audit which revealed a high degree of assurance that forces were identifying and recording complaints accurately. Two forces, Fife and Northern Constabularies were given the highest rating possible of 'full assurance', with others achieved the second highest rating of 'substantial assurance'.

This latest audit will look at how the complaint has been categorised and recorded, i.e. off duty, on duty or quality of service and that the allegations have been identified and correctly disposed of by the force concerned. Specifically, the Commissioner is looking to see whether the final letter includes information on how to take seek a review by the Commissioner if the peson making the complaint remains dissatisfied.

The audit will be carried out by members of the Commissioner's staff during September and October and will involve looking at around 1500 complaint allegations selected at random across all eight forces.

Professor John McNeill said: I believe it is important that I establish a solid baseline of recording and disposal practices prior to the establishment of the single police service for Scotland. This will allow similar exercises to be undertaken and progress measured in terms of accuracy and consistency in the future.

The Commissioner is expected to publish his findings before the end of the year.

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