Complaint Handling Reviews

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Report - Police Scotland - PIRC/00157/21

25 Jan 2022

The Complaints

The complaints in this case arose after officers questioned the applicant’s eldest son regarding his car insurance then stopped the applicant’s younger son in his vehicle later the same date. We have reviewed the handling of six complaints, namely that:

  1. officers behaved in a rude and unprofessional manner towards both the applicant and his eldest son outside the applicant’s home address, and their behaviour amounted to harassment;

  2. officers did not follow procedure and failed to caution the applicant’s eldest son when stopping him in his car outside the applicant’s home address;

  3. the applicant’s family was subjected to some sort of surveillance as the same two officers stopped both of the applicant’s sons;

  4. officers targeted the applicant’s younger son when they stopped him in his car on his return home;

  5. officers failed to follow procedure and did not caution the applicant’s younger son when stopping him in his car on his return home; and

  6. the police failed to record the applicant’s complaints regarding the stops of both of his sons.

Police Scotland’s Decision

Police Scotland upheld complaint 6 but did not uphold the remainder of the applicant’s complaints (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).

Our Findings

We have found that Police Scotland handled complaints 1, 2 and 6 to a reasonable standard but not so complaints 3, 4 and 5.

We have made four recommendations to address the shortcomings in Police Scotland’s handling and administration of the complaints. We have recommended that complaints 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are properly recorded as separate complaints about the police; that complaint 3 is reassessed and a further response sent to the applicant; and that a fully reasoned response to complaints 4 and 5 are sent to the applicant on conclusion of the appropriate criminal proceedings.

Our recommendations should be implemented by Police Scotland within two months of the date of this report.


Police Scotland implemented all recommendations made in this case. In doing so, they recorded complaints 1 & 2 and 4 & 5, and their outcomes, separately.

In addition, further enquiries were carried out into complaint 3, which was then reassessed, as were complaints 4 and 5.

A further response was then sent to the applicant which provided a detailed explanation of the further enquiries and reassessment carried out in relation to each complaint.

While all complaints remained not upheld, individual learning was identified for the officers involved in complaint 3.

Police Bodies : Police Scotland

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