Complaint Handling Reviews

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Report – Police Scotland – PIRC/0082/23

04 Jan 2024
Content

The Complaints

The complaint in this case arose after the applicant was arrested and taken into police custody on suspicion of assault and stealing a mobile phone.

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

  1. On 19 April 2022, the applicant was falsely arrested as the statements provided to police were untrue and the witness was not cross-checked to determine if he was lying, had convictions or mental health issues;
  2.  On 19 April 2022, the applicant was racially profiled by police officers and the complainant was believed instead of the applicant, because she was white, as was the witness and the two arresting police personnel;
  3. On the same date, the applicant’s mental health was not considered by police personnel as he was placed in a small cell without any human contact, despite him stating at the police station that he had mental health issues including depression, claustrophobia and anxiety; 
  4. On the same date, in police custody, the applicant was only provided with a small amount of food that was not fit for human consumption, which left him ‘starving’;
  5. On the same date, in police custody, the applicant was subjected to humiliation when his trousers were taken from him and an alternate pair of trousers were not provided, until several hours later;
  6. On 18 May 2022, the applicant did not believe an officer recorded his report about racism in a WhatsApp group and he was not provided with any documentation in relation to this allegation;
  7. On 19 May 2022, in police custody at a named police station, an officer threatened to take all the applicant’s clothes off him if he did not answer the welfare questions;
  8. On 19 May 2022, in police custody at the same police station, the applicant was continually touched, woken up and harassed every 10 to 15 minutes; his cell light was left on until around 5 am because he had not answered the welfare questions; and he was threatened to keep being woken up; and
  9. Police Scotland have maliciously attached his fingerprints and DNA obtained after the applicant was arrested on 19 April 2022 to the Criminal History System (CHS) record of another person

Police Scotland’s Decision

Police Scotland upheld complaint 6 but not so complaints 1,2,3,4,5,7 and 8 and did not record complaint 9 as a relevant complaint about the police.

Our Findings

We have found that Police Scotland handled complaint(s) 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 of the applicant’s complaints to a reasonable standard but not so complaints 5 and 9.

We have made two recommendations to address the shortcomings in Police Scotland’s handling of the complaints. In summary, we have recommended that Police Scotland conducts any necessary and proportionate further enquiries and re-assesses the information available. Thereafter, Police Scotland should provide the applicant with a further response which fully addresses the complaints, explains whether the complaints are upheld or not upheld, and clearly outlines the rationale for the determination reached.

Specifically, in respect of complaint 9, we also recommend that Police Scotland records this complaint as a relevant complaint about the police.

Specifically, in respect of complaint 9, we also recommend that Police Scotland records this complaint as a relevant complaint about the police.

Police Bodies: Police Scotland
 

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