Complaint Handling Reviews

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Report – Police Scotland – PIRC/00324/21

06 Jul 2023

The Complaints

The complaints in this case arose after officers attended the applicant’s address in relation to a report that his vehicle was causing an obstruction, which culminated in the applicant being arrested and taken to a police custody centre. We have reviewed the handling of twenty-one complaints, namely that:

  1. Officers placed handcuffs on the applicant’s wrist too tightly, which resulted in an injury that required medical treatment at hospital;
  2. The applicant asked an officer to retain a copy of CCTV footage of him being booked into police custody, but it was subsequently lost;
  3. An officer was angry, arrogant, dismissive, confrontational and uninterested;
  4. An officer had limited knowledge of police powers, as he should have known that the private car park at the applicant’s house is for the use of four houses only and is not a public place or road;
  5. Two different sets of officers attended the applicant’s address on 13 August 2020 and each provided different advice, despite the circumstances being the same;
  6. The applicant had to pay a penalty to have his vehicle retuned, despite it having been removed illegally;
  7. The applicant was held in the rear of a police vehicle for an unnecessary prolonged period of time;
  8. The applicant was repeatedly denied the use of a toilet while being held at a named police office;
  9. An officer would not allow the applicant’s neighbour to move his vehicle;
  10. Officers did not stop the applicant entering his vehicles to move them, but waited until he had moved them and then arrested him;
  11. An officer grabbed the applicant’s wife’s wrist;
  12. An officer shouted in the applicant’s wife’s face;
  13. Officers did not take any COVID-19 precautions during their dealings with the applicant, his wife and his neighbour;
  14. The applicant was wrongly arrested, as his vehicle was not in a public place or road;
    The applicant was denied his liberty and freedom while being held in custody overnight, after being wrongfully arrested;
  15. The applicant was not offered any water or food while being held in police custody;
  16. After the applicant moved his vehicle and complied with the officers’ request, an officer still requested his vehicle to be uplifted, which shows that the officer was angry and blatantly abused his police powers;
  17. Officers made the decision to remove the applicant’s vehicle, despite his wife advising that she could arrange for their daughter and son in law to move it;
  18. In relation to complaint 18, this was not proper police procedure and was a blatant abuse of police powers, with no common sense to diffuse a minor disagreement between neighbours;
  19. An officer knew that the applicant’s vehicle was his only source of income and would cause him great distress and financial hardship, and the applicant believes that this was his main motive; and 
  20. An officer had limited knowledge of traffic procedure, in that the standard British vehicle opening measurement is 2.4 metres. 

Police Scotland’s Decision

Police Scotland did not uphold any of the applicant’s complaints.

Our Findings

We have found that Police Scotland handled complaints 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 20 and 21 to a reasonable standard, but not so complaints 1, 2, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15, 18 and 19.

Consequently, we have made ten recommendations to address the shortcomings in the handling of these complaints. In summary we have recommended that: in relation to complaints 1, 2, 7, 9, 14, 15, 18 and 19 Police Scotland conducts further proportionate enquiries, reassesses the complaints and issues the applicant with fresh responses; and, in relation to complaints 3, 11 and 15, Police Scotland records the complaints separately.

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

Police Bodies : Police Scotland

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