Complaint Handling Reviews

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Report – Police Scotland – PIRC/00493/23

06 Mar 2024

The Complaints

The complaints in this case arose following the applicant’s arrest and detention in police custody after her husband had telephoned her GP surgery, concerned about her mental health, and stating that she had threatened him with a pair of scissors during an argument. The applicant’s GP surgery reported the call to Police Scotland when they were unable to reach the applicant’s husband by return telephone call to obtain further information.

We have reviewed the handling of five complaints, namely that: 

  1. on 24 October 2022, the applicant was not allowed to put on a bra after being arrested, leaving her feeling vulnerable throughout her police contact in respect of this incident;
  2. on the same date, at a police station, the applicant’s mental health was not considered with inadequate support provided;
  3. on the same date and at the same police station, the applicant was unable to speak to a solicitor prior to being interviewed;
  4. on the same date and at the same police station, the applicant was not provided with prescribed medication while in police custody; and
  5. on the same date and at the same police station, the applicant was not provided with the appropriate level of care, support, or respect while in police custody.

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 2, 3 and 5 to a reasonable standard, but not so complaints 1 and 4.

Consequently, we have made three recommendations in total. The recommendations are to address the shortcomings in Police Scotland’s handling of complaints 1 and 4, and, as complaints 1, 4 and 5 are closely linked, we have also made a recommendation in respect of complaint 5. In summary, we have recommended that Police Scotland conducts further necessary and proportionate enquiries and provides the applicant with a further response. We have also identified a learning point related to the administration of the complaints.

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

Police Bodies: Police Scotland 

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