Commissioner launches investigation into allegations of criminality against Police Scotland officers

The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) is investigating allegations of criminality against officers serving with Police Scotland.

The allegations were provided to the PIRC anonymously and the Commissioner subsequently referred them to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), as the body responsible for the prosecution of crime.

After consideration, the COPFS decided that an independent investigation should be carried out by the PIRC and this is now underway.

As the complaint also included allegations of misconduct by a senior police officer, the Commissioner referred the matters to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) on 18 October 2017.

The SPA is the body responsible for carrying out preliminary assessments of allegations of misconduct about senior officers and considering whether the officer concerned should be suspended.

On 24 November 2017 the SPA referred the misconduct allegations about the senior officer to the PIRC and suspended the officer.

The Commissioner is now carrying out an assessment to establish whether a misconduct investigation is required.

A spokesman for the Commissioner said:

“Following receipt of anonymous allegations of criminality by officers, including a senior officer, serving with Police Scotland, the Commissioner referred the allegations to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).
“This was to allow the COPFS to consider whether the criminal allegations should be investigated by the Commissioner.
“The COPFS decided that an independent investigation should be carried out by the PIRC and this is now underway.”

Ends

 

Notes to Editors:

 

  • The PIRC investigation into the allegations of criminality against officers serving with Police Scotland is ‘ongoing’ and a report will be submitted to the COPFS in due course.
  •  The Commissioner is now carrying out an assessment to establish whether a misconduct investigation is required.

 

The Police Service of Scotland (Senior Officer) (Conduct) Regulations 2013

What is misconduct?

Misconduct means conduct which amounts to a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour as outlined in Schedule 1 of the 2013 Regulations.

What is Gross Misconduct?

This means a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour, as detailed in Schedule 1 of the 2013 Regulations, which is so serious that dismissal may be justified.

What do these Standards of Professional Behaviour cover?

They cover:  Honesty and Integrity; Authority, Respect and Courtesy; Equality and Diversity; Use of Force; Orders and Instructions; Duties and Responsibilities; Confidentiality; Fitness for Duty; Discreditable Conduct and Challenging and Reporting Improper Conduct.

What is the Commissioner's involvement?

A misconduct allegation against a senior officer would be made to the Scottish Police Authority in the first instance. The Authority must assess the matter. If it assesses that the conduct would, if proved, amount to misconduct or gross misconduct, it must decide whether the allegation is to be investigated. If it is to be investigated the Authority must refer the matter to the Commissioner for assessment.

What does the Commissioner do then?

When a misconduct allegation is referred to the Commissioner they must assess whether the conduct which is the subject matter of that allegation would, if that conduct were proved, amount to:

  • a) misconduct;
  • b) gross misconduct; or
  • c) neither.

Where the Commissioner assesses that the conduct which is the subject matter of the misconduct allegation would, if proved, amount to gross misconduct, the Commissioner must investigate the allegation.

Q. What does the Commissioner do when the investigation is complete?

The Commissioner must submit a report to the Authority, which must contain:

  • a summary of evidence
  • the investigator's opinion on whether the allegation should be referred to a misconduct hearing

Q. Does the Commissioner arrange the Misconduct Hearing?

No. The Commissioner only investigates the misconduct allegations and then reports back to the Scottish Police Authority. On receipt of the investigator's report, the SPA must determine whether the senior officer has a case to answer in respect of misconduct, gross misconduct or neither.  Where the Authority determines that there is no case to answer it may take no action, take improvement action, or refer the matter to be dealt with under procedures maintained under regulation 23 of the Police Service of Scotland (Performance) Regulations 2103. Where the Authority determines that there is a case to answer in respect of either misconduct or gross misconduct, it must refer the misconduct allegation to a misconduct hearing.