News In Focus
Scotland's Police Complaints Commissioner reappointed
7 September 2012
Professor John McNeill has been reappointed as Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland for a further two years, the Scottish Government confirmed today.
First appointed in 2009, Professor McNeill will now continue in post at the request of Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill until August 2014, a period which will cover the first year and more of the new single Police Service of Scotland.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "Professor McNeill will play an important role in this new landscape. It is vital the strongest possible candidate is in place at this crucial time of transition, and we believe that he is best placed to lead the process. He will provide continuity, stability and unrivalled experience at this important stage of the reform journey."
In his third Annual Report, published yesterday, Professor McNeill said there was evidence of improvements in the way that police handle complaints from the public, which bodes well for the new single force.
The report reveals that 64% of the 652 individual complaints reviewed by the Commissioner in the year to March 2012 were handled reasonably by the police, up from 54% in the year before.
The number of recommendations made in his reports to the eight forces rose to 185 from 134 last year, but this, it is said, was largely due to more reports being finalised during the year (215), rather than an increase in the number of recommendations in each report. In the majority of cases these require further action such as additional work of an aspect of the complaint, or an apology for failings in the original investigation.
Professor McNeill commentred: “I have used my Annual Report to highlight our achievements this year and the groundwork we have done to prepare the organisation for the challenges that lie ahead for the body providing independent oversight of the police in Scotland.
“The complaints that land on my desk come from people who think that their case has not been handled well and when my review finds poor practice, I speak out. However, it is also important to acknowledge that, in the course of my work, I see many examples of good practice in complaints handling in the forces across Scotland, something that bodes well for the new single police force.”
Click here to view the report.