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.


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.

Live investigations

You can search and view all 'live' PIRC investigations here, with links to further information where available.

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Published investigation reports

You can view all published investigation reports here.

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Archived investigations

You can search and view all archived investigations here.

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Investigation FAQs

Here you can find out more about the type of investigations we conduct.

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