Investigation process

We can be asked to investigate an incident by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS),  the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and a number of other policing bodies operating in Scotland. 

Image showing items involved in an investigation, including a clock for time, a magnifying glass for scrutiny and a police officer to represent the policing bodies we can investigate

How long do our investigations take?

Depending on the type of incident, we will first be asked to consider if an investigation is required. If it is required, we will then investigate what happened.

  • There is no set time limit for the investigation. 
  • The investigation will be carried out in as timely and thorough a manner as possible.
  • We will then provide a report which may conclude whether the appropriate policies and procedures were followed, amongst other things.

Contact with PIRC during an investigation

The Lead Investigator is responsible for managing the investigation. They will ensure that contact is made with all the appropriate individuals throughout the investigation.

Investigators are required to identify and pursue all lines of enquiry. This can include identifying and making contact with witnesses and obtaining statements where appropriate.

They will also gather relevant evidence over the course of the investigation.

If your family has experienced a bereavement as a result of the incident which we are investigating, a Family Liaison Officer (FLO) will be appointed. They will keep you informed of our progress. As part of the investigation, we may need to interview family members and take statements.

Family Liaison Officers (FLOs)

Where there has been a bereavement, the main role of the FLO is to support any communication between the family and the investigation team.

Our FLOs are all specially trained to support you and your family throughout the investigation.

You may find it useful to write down any questions or information you have, so that when you meet or speak to the FLO, you do not forget to mention anything important to you.

  • FLOs are appointed to give you and your family information about the investigation.
  • The FLO will liaise with you throughout the investigation and is your single point of contact.
  • Should you require any further information or have any concerns, please contact the FLO.

The role of the FLO

They will:

  • Explain their role to you.
  • Provide you with their contact details.
  • Ask you to nominate someone to be the contact person for you/your family.
  • Keep you updated on the progress of the investigation.
  • Give you as much information as possible as quickly as possible.
  • Take statements, from you, family members and friends to assist the investigation.
  • Give you information about other agencies which may provide support for you and your family.
  • Answer any questions you may have.

How often will the FLO provide updates?

The frequency of our updates will be discussed between the FLO and the main family contact. 

We will make sure it is at a time and day that is convenient to the family and consistent with the needs of the investigation. Families involved in our investigations will receive updates in person and in writing.

What happens next?

What happens next, depends on the type of investigation which has taken place.

If you and you family are involved in an investigation, you will be told when we reach the end of the process.

Investigation outcomes

Please do not include any personal information, for example information about a complaint or investigation you are involved in. If you would like to share any important information with us, please visit our Contact us page to find out how to get in touch.