Crown Office and Police Scotland refuse to say if politicians will be interviewed around Covid-19 care home deaths investigation

Politicians may not be interviewed as part of an ongoing police and Crown Office investigation into the deaths of residents in care homes due to Covid-19.

The investigation into care home deaths in Scotland is ongoing
The investigation into care home deaths in Scotland is ongoing

Both the Crown Office, which is leading ‘Operation Koper’, and Police Scotland refused to answer questions on the scale and breadth of the inquiry.

It was revealed in October that a “major police investigation” into care home deaths is underway in Scotland, with officers beginning to interview care home staff and gathering evidence on each notified care home death.

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However, it is unclear whether the inquiry will extend to politicians and civil servants, including the First Minister and Health Secretary.

The Crown Office and Police Scotland were both asked how much the operation had cost, whether political figures or civil servants would be interviewed, how many care homes had been contacted, as well as how many care home staff have been interviewed to date.

Both refused to answer any of the questions, but Police Scotland said no criminal investigation was underway.

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay called on the Crown Office to interview political decision makers.

He said: “Given the repeated human rights abuses inflicted on older people during the pandemic, it is imperative that Police Scotland interview those who have been responsible for making these decisions, decisions I believe have amounted to corporate neglect.”

A spokesman for the COPFS said: “The Crown Office has established a dedicated team to deal with reports of Covid-19 or presumed Covid-19 deaths in care homes or where the deceased may have contracted the virus in the course of their employment.

“The team will work with the relevant agencies to ensure that all necessary and appropriate investigations are undertaken and that each investigation progresses as expediently as it can.”

Assistant Chief Constable Judi Heaton said: "Police Scotland is supporting the COPFS review into deaths in care homes by collating and cataloguing the information that has been requested of care homes nationally.

"At this time we have not been directed by the COPFS to carry out any criminal investigation, which is a decision taken by COPFS.

"We will continue to work with COPFS and other partner agencies to enable the gathering of information and maximise the safety of the public and those in care settings."

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