News In Focus
PCCS reaches understanding with COPFS
The respective roles of the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland (PCCS) and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) have been set out in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two agencies. The development of the MOU has been driven by the need to allow the PCCS to set about fulfilling its statutory duties at the earliest possible stage, while protecting the integrity of any criminal investigation.
The MOU confirms the PCCS can simultaneously continue its review of the manner in which a police body has dealt with a non-criminal complaint, in circumstances where COPFS is also considering criminal allegations from the same complainer. Previously, PCCS reviews would have been delayed in these circumstances. The Commissioner, however, will only issue his final report to the complainer and the relevant police body if both the he and the COPFS are satisfied this will not prejudice any ongoing proceedings by the COPFS.
Commenting on the agreement, the PCCS’ Professor John McNeill said: “This agreement allows me to fulfil my statutory duties and provides assurance to the public that, in doing so, my office will not prejudice any criminal investigation by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. It also means that in some cases we may be able to eliminate entirely the need to delay publishing my findings pending the outcome of a court case or ongoing Crown Office investigation.”
Crown Agent Catherine Dyer said “COPFS is very pleased to have developed this Memorandum of Understanding in consultation with PCCS colleagues. This will ensure that each can effectively carry out its duties, and ensure increased co-operation between us”.