Police Scotland apologise after wrong family told of death

Police Scotland has apologised after informing the wrong family their relative had died.

Police Scotland has apologised after informing the wrong family their relative had died.
Police Scotland has apologised after informing the wrong family their relative had died.

Officers told a woman in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire that her brother had passed away as the result of a “sudden, non-suspicious death” in Aberdeen on Sunday.

It later emerged that with “limited information” the force had made an error in identifying the next of kin.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

The incident is the latest in a series of high-profile errors since the creation of the national force in 2013.

The family of the man who died have now been informed.

Chief Inspector Neil McDonald said the incident was due to “human error”.

He said: “During the afternoon of Sunday, 3 September, Police Scotland attended the sudden, non-suspicious death of a man in Aberdeen.

“Unfortunately there was only limited information available as to the identity of the deceased and police 
commenced inquiry to 
establish details of his next of kin.

“As part of that inquiry, officers attended at an address in Aberdeenshire where they believed the deceased’s immediate family resided.

“Unfortunately, it was established that this was not the correct next of kin.

“The error was quickly identified and I have reviewed the circumstances with it appearing to be attributable to human error.”

He added: “Whilst I am content that our officers were attempting to identity the next of kin in difficult circumstances, this should not have 
happened and a supervisor has met with the affected 
family and apologised to them.”

Last month a watchdog investigation found officers in Dumfries told a vulnerable woman’s family she was safe and well hours after she had died. The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) found officers had initially been sent to the wrong address and spoke to the wrong woman.

The watchdog identified a series of failings but concluded the woman for whom concerns were raised had probably already died before officers were contacted.

The Pirc is also currently investigating the Police Scotland response after the body of a missing man was found in his own garage a month after officers began a high-profile search.

The remains of Arnold Mouat, 64, were found at his home address in Bo’ness, Falkirk last month.

He had been missing since 7 July, and the police search had included media appeals and the use of a marine unit to search water near Bo’ness.

More than 50 volunteers helped with the police effort, searching areas where it was though Mr Mouat, a keen hiker, used to walk.