Views sought on Police Conduct Bill in bid to be 'more transparent'

The Bill aims to improve vetting procedures through the creation of a Scottish police barred list and police advisory list.

Views are being sought on a new Bill to ensure investigations into police misconduct are more transparent and effective.

The Police (Ethics, Conduct and Scrutiny) (Scotland) Bill, will require Police Scotland to have a statutory code of ethics, including a duty of candour, and would make changes relating to the handling of police conduct, including procedures dealing with senior and former officers.

The Bill will also increase the functions of the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) and introduce an advisory board for PIRC.

It will improve vetting procedures through the creation of a Scottish police barred list and police advisory list.

The lists will provide information about officers who have been subject to disciplinary action or who have been dismissed.

It will also list those who would have been dismissed if they were still employed by Police Scotland.

The proposed changes are in response to recommendations made by an independent review of police complaints handling, investigations and misconduct.

The reforms are being led by Lady Elish Angiolini.

Lady Angiolini has long worked on improving policing in her role as a solicitor.

In 2017 she published a report on deaths in police custody, commissioned by the UK Home office.

In 2018 she was appointed by the Scottish Government to look into how police investigate serious incidents and alleged misconduct.

Last year, she was made chairwoman of the independent inquiry into the murder of Sarah Everard.

As the inquiry launched on Tuesday, criminal justice committee convener Audrey Nicoll said: “For a number of years, concerns have been raised about the process of investigating misconduct allegations about Scotland’s police officers.

“In particular, in cases where officers were able to retire or resign before facing disciplinary hearings.

“Lady Eilish Angiolini’s review made recommendations aiming to strengthen public confidence in policing in Scotland and improving the transparency and accountability of the complaints process.

“We want to understand whether this Bill will achieve those aims.

She added: “We are keen to hear views from those with experience of the complaints process, those working in policing and the wider justice sector.

“We’re keen to learn their views on the proposals in the Bill, if any proposals should go further, and whether they feel anything is missing which should also be included.”

Members of the public can make their views known by visiting the Scottish Parliament’s website

The call for views closes on Friday December 8 2023.

Police Scotland and PIRC were contacted for comment.

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