We independently investigate incidents involving the police
In this section you can find out more about our independent investigations, 'live' investigations; archived investigations and published investigation reports.
The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner can investigate:
- Incidents involving the police, referred by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS). These may include deaths in custody and allegations of criminality made about police officers.
- Serious incidents involving the police, at the request of the Chief Constable or the Scottish Police Authority (SPA). Reasons for requests for investigations from the Chief Constable may include the serious injury of a person in police custody, the death or serious injury of a person following contact with the police or the use of firearms by police officers.
- Allegations of misconduct by senior police officers of the rank of Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) and above, if requested by the SPA.
- Relevant police matters which she considers would be in the public interest.
At the conclusion of an investigation, the Commissioner can recommend improvements to the way the police operate and deliver services to the public in Scotland.
To find out more about the types of matters we may investigate and some of the terms we use, please see our investigations FAQs.
If you are a serving police officer or member of police staff, you can also download our leaflet, A guide for police and staff on the role of the PIRC.
If you have been contacted by the PIRC following a bereavement, you can find out about the role of our Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) and what to expect during an investigation here or in our leaflet, A guide for families on the role of the PIRC.
What we publish
In investigations referred by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS): The Commissioner may publish a report where there has been a death and the COPFS has decided that there should be no court proceedings. However, in all other COPFS- referred investigations the Commissioner is prevented from publishing reports by Section 43 (8) of the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 as amended.
In investigations referred by the Chief Constable or other policing bodies operating in Scotland: The Commissioner is permitted by legislation to publish her conclusions unless criminal proceedings are still being considered.
In investigations referred by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) regarding misconduct by a senior officer of the rank of ACC and above: The Commissioner is not authorised to publish her report.
Published investigation reports
A guide for families on the role of the PIRC