The PIRC Review Team has published 12 Complaint Handling Review (CHR) reports this week, which found that a majority of complaints dealt with by police were reasonably handled.

In seven of the cases, totalling 19 complaints, Police Scotland provided an appropriate response to the complainers. We found that all the complaints were handled to a reasonable standard in the first instance.

Our role is to review the way in which policing bodies handle complaints made about them. It is not to investigate the circumstances which led to the complaint or uphold allegations made. When carrying out a Complaint Handling Review (CHR) we consider a number of factors, including whether police carried out sufficient enquiries; their response was supported by the material information available and whether the police response was adequately reasoned.

The cases varied from dealing with someone arrested for failing to appear in court and a case involving a road traffic offence.

In PIRC/00238/19, the applicant reported to the police that a work colleague had threatened to kill him. He had complained that the report to the police should have resulted in his work being questioned and charges being made against him. However, we agreed with Police Scotland’s position not to uphold the complaint, as that they had adequately set out to the complainer that sufficient enquiries had been made which established that no crime had been committed.

In the five other cases, totalling 25 complaints, a number were not reasonably handled. These ranged from how the police dealt with crimes against an applicant’s son and their search of a person’s home and business address.

In PIRC/00612/18, the applicant was stopped and searched under section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. He made five complaints, including that the stop search was based solely on his ethnicity and that mobile footage of the stop search may have been deleted by officers. We found that one of the complaints – that he was handcuffed during the incident without justification - was handled to a reasonable standard, but the others were not.

As a result, a reconsideration direction was issued to Police Scotland to re-examine two of the complaints. Two recommendations were made to address the shortcomings identified in the handling of the other complaints. A learning point was also issued.  

A further six recommendations and one reconsideration direction have been issued to police in relation to the other cases not reasonably handled.

We expect all actions issued to Police Scotland to be completed within two months of the date a report is issued.

View all the reports HERE.

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