The recommendation comes after a 25-year-old woman suffered severe burns when she set fire to her clothing in the back of a police van in Glasgow on Saturday 27 April 2019.
An investigation report, for the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), found that the woman had been placed in handcuffs behind her back following a report of a disturbance. However, she struggled violently with the arresting officers, making it impossible for them to search her thoroughly at the time. As such, the lighter she was carrying was not discovered.
During transit to London Road police station, the escorting officer chose not to sit in the rear-facing observation seats, which would have allowed him to continually monitor the woman throughout the journey. As such, the officer did not see her setting fire to herself with the lighter until the flames had taken substantial hold. The woman suffered severe burns to her thigh.
At present the Standard Operating Procedure allows some discretion for officers on the monitoring of people being transported in police vehicles. Investigators for the PIRC have recommended that this be reviewed in light of this incident.
The incident was referred by Police Scotland to the PIRC on 27 April 2019. As part of their investigation, PIRC investigators examined the police van, interviewed the relevant officers and the injured party and examined Police Scotland's Standard Operating Procedures. A copy of the embargoed report and its findings can be found here.