The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) is investigating allegations of misconduct and gross misconduct about a senior officer with Police Scotland.

A number of anonymous allegations, some of which were criminal, about police officers including the senior officer, were sent to the Commissioner in October.

She referred the criminal allegations to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service( COPFS) as required.

Other allegations of misconduct by the senior police officer were referred by the Commissioner to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) on 18 October 2017 as it requires to carry out an initial assessment.

The COPFS has already directed the PIRC to investigate all criminal allegations and in November the SPA referred the allegations of misconduct about the senior officer to the PIRC.

Following its initial assessment the SPA indicated that, if proved, these allegations would amount to gross misconduct and took the decision to suspend the officer.

The Commissioner assessed the various allegations and considers that some, if proved, would amount to gross misconduct and others, if proved, would amount to misconduct.

The senior police officer was served with a Notice of Investigation on 4 January 2018 and informed that he is the subject of a misconduct investigation.

Once the investigations are concluded, the Commissioner will submit a report about the criminal allegations to the COPFS and another in relation to the misconduct to the SPA.

In the report provided to the SPA, there will be a summary of evidence and an opinion on whether the misconduct allegations should be referred to a misconduct hearing.

 

Notes to Editors:

Scottish Police Authority

It is the role of the SPA to conduct a preliminary assessment of the allegations of misconduct about senior officers to consider if the allegations were proved they would amount to misconduct, gross misconduct or neither.

Having reached a decision, the SPA also considers whether there is a need to suspend the senior officer.

If the SPA decides that the allegations amount to misconduct or gross misconduct they then refer them to the PIRC for assessment.

 

COPFS

The senior officer is among a number of officers serving with Police Scotland, who are being investigated by the Commissioner for alleged criminality.

The allegations were provided anonymously to the PIRC and the Commissioner subsequently referred the allegations of criminality to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), as the body responsible for assessing criminal complaints made about the police.

The PIRC can only carry out a criminal investigation when directed to do so by the COPFS.

In this instance, after considering the allegations of criminal behaviour by officers with Police Scotland, the COPFS directed the PIRC to carry out an investigation into the circumstances.

 

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.

What does the Commissioner do when the investigation is complete?

The Commissioner must determine whether, in the investigator's opinion, the senior officer has a case to answer in relation to the misconduct allegation.

The Commissioner must submit a report to the Authority.  The report must contain:

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

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.