Quality & Standards


An Overview

Under s42 of the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006, the Commissioner has general functions: to secure the maintenance of suitable arrangements for the handling of relevant complaints by each of the relevant authorities; to keep them under review; and ensure that the arrangements are efficient and effective, have an appropriate degree of independence, and are adhered to.
To make sure this happens, the Commissioner and his team work with all stakeholders to achieve effective and customer focussed, police complaints handling arrangements.  Reviews are also conducted in line with the PCCS audit policy, to ensure that the arrangements are maintained.

Within this page you will find information and regular updates on the Quality & Standards work being carried out by the Commissioner and his team, as outlined in the PCCS Business Plan 2012-13 , to continually drive up complaint handling standards

Current on-going projects include:

  • the annual statistical return in relation to complaints, from all of the relevant authorities
  • on-going work with HM Revenue and Customs regarding a memorandum of understanding
  • working with the complaints review team on the lessons learned, and quality matters bulletins for the police service.
  • work with ACPOS to ensure the new complaint handling arrangement for the single police force reflect that six stage complaints handling model and the statutory guidance
  • on-going audit work on force complaint recording audits
  • follow up research on holding to account  

From sanctions to solutions - Statutory guidance launch

From Sanctions to SolutionsThe Commissioner launched statutory guidance on police complaint handling in 2011.  To read more click here>>>

Consultation Launch

On Tuesday 16 November 2011, the PCCS launched statutory guidance on police complaint handling for consultation.  The launch was held at Hamilton Town Hall and was well attended by most of the police forces, other bodies with police type powers operating in Scotland, and police boards and authorities.

Following an introduction by the Commissioner, the Chair of the Police Advisory Board for Scotland technical working group - conduct working party, outlined the work which he has been taking forward to develop proposals for new complaints and conduct legislation, and how this ties in with the statutory guidance.  This was followed by an overview of the guidance from the PCCS Quality Assurance Officer.   The event was rounded off by the Director of PCCS, informing the delegates of the next steps, and then chairing a question and answer session.  All questions were noted and will be considered during the consultation process. 

Work has now commenced on the consultation update 2012, this aims to provide the commissioner with any feedback on the guidance with a view to producing an updated version later in the year.

Complaint Recording Audits

All of the Complaints Recording Audits have now been completed. This audit was piloted in fife constabulary where the commissioners office met with the professional standards departments of the forces and viewed there correspondence files and checked this with complaints recorded to establish a non recording rate across the forces.

PCCS identified good practice across the forces in relation to initial complaint recording. These audits provide the public and PCCS with a high degree of confidence that when complaints are taken to a police force they are identified and recorded accurately.

All of these reports have now been published and can be viewed by clicking the link below:

Complaint Recording Audits

Follow up Audits

Accessibility of complaint handling

In July 2011 the  follow-up to the Assessment of Accessibility of Police Complaint Handling, which looked  to ensure that the police complaints system in Scotland was adequately accessible to the public should they wish to complain, or wish to know more about the process, was published. Further work is now underway to view updated action plans on complaint handling accessibility to allow a final update.

Holding to account - and audit of police board and authority capabilities

The follow up work on Holding to account -  an audit of police boards & authority capabilities, is in its final stages. We asked the eight bodies or authorities to provide updated action plans on the 13 recommendations made from the original report. The Update report will be issued in the coming weeks.

The original report can be read by clicking on the link below:

Holding to Account Report

Memorandum of Understanding

A memorandum of understanding has now been signed between the PCCS and the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service, UK border agency, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Ministry of Defence police, serious and organised crime agency and British transport police. These memorandums of understanding allow the PCCS to review the handling of relevant complaints by UK wide policing bodies which exercise police type powers in Scotland . The documents have been circulated to all relevant authorities.

To view the memorandums of understanding click the link below

Memorandum of Understanding

Memorandum of Understanding with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs

The parameters have now been agreed for a memorandum of understanding between PCCS and HMRC, and the drafting of this is now underway.  This MOU will relate to non-criminal complaints about HMRC staff with police-like powers, who are operating in Scotland

Learning Points and Quality Matters

As part of his commitment to secure efficient and effective complaint handling, the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland issues a regular practice bulletin called "Learning Point" to all police bodies in Scotland. The work of the Quality Assurance team under Section 42 of the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 is incorporated in a section within the bulletin called "Quality Matters".

 To read these bulletins please click the link below:

Learning Point and Quality Matters