Concerns raised by a watchdog about the way Police Scotland investigates complaints against its own officers are “extremely serious”, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has said.
Kate Frame, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc), last week told MSPs that Police Scotland was failing to refer criminal allegations against its officers to prosecutors.
She said that during a rape investigation, a complaint against a serving officer was categorised as “incivility”.
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After the Pirc’s intervention, the matter was reported by Police Scotland to the Crown Office as “an attempt to pervert the course of justice”.
Ms Frame highlighted another case where police recorded a “quality of service” complaint after a member of the public was “unlawfully detained” for a number of days. Following a Pirc investigation, a number of officers were later arrested.
Asked by Labour MSP Daniel Johnson if he agreed that an attempt to pervert the course of justice by a police officer was “an extremely serious matter,” the justice secretary said: “I agree the charge the commissioner made is an extremely serious one.”
Former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini is carrying out a review of police complaint procedures at the request of the Scottish Government.
Mr Yousaf told MSPs an interim report would be published in the spring.
In a letter sent to MSPs on the justice committee earlier this week, Ms Frame said: “I remain confident that the majority of police officers carry out their duty with integrity in highly challenging circumstances but that a number of cases have now come to light which calls into question Police Scotland’s willingness to exercise its discretion in a transparent and open manner.”
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs said: “We have written to the justice committee setting out our position with regards to a number of inaccuracies contained within the evidence given by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner.”