Call for action on police complaints process after report

The aim of the investigation was to consider the current law and practice in relation to complaints handling.

Call for action on police complaints process after report SNS Group

The Scottish Tories have pushed for action on a “sobering” report into the complaints process against police.

The 490-page review by Dame Elish Angiolini was released earlier this month and Tory justice spokesman Liam Kerr has accused the Scottish Government of inaction.

The aim of the investigation was to consider the current law and practice in relation to complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing and to make recommendations for improvements.

A total of 81 recommendations were made, including increasing oversight powers for the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc), as well as making it responsible to parliament rather than Scottish ministers.

Speaking in a Tory-led debate in Holyrood, Kerr said: “What has been notable, worrying even, has been the response so far from the SNP.”

He added: “What has been the SNP’s response? A bland press release which contained little more than bland platitudes and completely lacked any firm commitment to act.

“Hiding behind the defence that they commissioned this review in the first place is rendered meaningless by inaction.

“We need to see action.”

A motion tabled by Kerr for the debate called on the increased powers for Pirc and a collaborative working relationship with the UK Government on best practice.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said in response that the Scottish Government would take time to review the recommendations of Dame Elish and would make any legislative amendments deemed necessary.

He told MSPs: “Nobody is hiding away from the recommendations.”

Yousaf added: “Where government can work at pace, we absolutely will.

“It has been two weeks of an almost 500-page report with 81 recommendations, over 30 of them for the Scottish Government.

“There will be no dither, no delay – I can absolutely assure Liam Kerr and the Conservative benches that I’ve spoken to the (Scottish Police Authority), I’ve spoken to the Crown, I’ve spoken to Police Scotland.”

The Justice Secretary also said that 21 of the 30 recommendations made in an interim report last year have been actioned in some way, while the others require legislative change that he wanted to wait for the final report before making.

Yousaf tabled an amendment to the Tory motion, which said the report would need “careful consideration” from bodies involved.

Kerr also said that, in a meeting with women who “suffered injustice” while working for Police Scotland or the Scottish Police Authority, a “simple” transparency tool was suggested.

The north east MSP suggested the Scottish Government create a progress tracker for the recommendations of the report on its website, listing each point, whether ministers agree with it, what agency is responsible for actioning it and its progress.

The Justice Secretary said the tracker was “not a bad idea at all”.
Scottish Labour MSP Rhoda Grant also tabled an amendment to Kerr’s motion, which added the MSP’s concern over discrimination against minority police officers and staff within the force, by which Dame Elish said she was “deeply concerned”.

The motion passed unanimously, as did Ms Grant’s amendment.
The amendment from the Justice Secretary passed by 65 to 59.

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