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Police complaints need to be handled differently

24 January 2008

Complaints against the police that allege criminal conduct need to be handled differently by the Crown Office, according to a new report.

The Crown Office Inspectorate of Prosecution's latest report looked at the handling by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service of complaints against Strathclyde Police. It found differences in implementing the complaints policy, with variations from area to area in the proportion of cases reported by the fiscal to Crown Office.

HM Chief Inspector of Prosecution Joe O'Donnell said investigations into alleged criminal conduct on the part of the police were an important part of the Crown Office’s work.

The report found differences in the way the Lord Advocate’s policy was being interpreted by the four different fiscal areas of Strathclyde. The report’s main recommendation is a fundamental review of policy and practice in this area.

The Crown Office said it welcomed the report and would establish a short term working group to review policy and practice.

Last year, there were 1,114 complaints alleging criminal conduct against the police in Scotland, with Strathclyde officers accounting for 744 of the complaints.