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Unresolved Homicides

Our Cold Case Review Unit was set up to pursue those who have avoided initial detection for homicide. Working with the police, the unit created the first comprehensive database of unresolved cases, with the information constantly updated. The unit also keeps under review cases that might be considered under double jeopardy legislation, which introduced some exceptions to the legal rule that normally excludes an accused being tried twice for the same offence.

Sexual Crime

COPFS established Europe’s first specialised unit dealing with the prosecution of sexual offences, the National Sexual Crime Unit. Our highly experienced, expert prosecutors recognise the devastating impact sexual crimes often have on victims and have the skills to deal with the significant challenges and intricacies of these cases.

For further information please see Advice for Victims of Sexual Crimes leaflet.


Human Trafficking Summit communiqué 

This was the first meeting to be attended by all of the heads of the prosecution services for the UK and Ireland. Attending with the Lord Advocate were the Directors of Public Prosecutions for England & Wales, Northern Ireland. The Director of Public Prosecutions for Ireland attended the summit as an observer and participated in the discussion. Also present was the Advocate General for Scotland, the Right Honourable Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC representing the UK Government.

pdfHuman Trafficking Summit Communique.pdf16.83 KB


pptNCA Presentation UKHTC.ppt7.91 MB

The Nature and Scale of Human Trafficking in 2013 was presented by Caroline Young 


pptJIT Scottish Summit.ppt2.5 MB

Joint Investigation Teams presented by PSNI  Senior Investigating officer – DCI Douglas Grant,  Eurojust - Elisa Hopley and Public prosecution Service Northern Ireland  - Michael Agnew 


pptDCC Livingstone.ppt988.5 KB

Human Trafficking: A Different Kind of Victim  present by DCC Iain Livingstone

Serious & Organised Crime

As part of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce, we help to lead work designed to divert, disrupt, deter and detect organised crime. Organised crime is ever-changing, with criminals constantly seeking new opportunities to sustain their enterprises. Our Serious and Organised Crime Division develops new collaborative approaches to the investigation and prosecution of serious and organised crime.

Updates on the work of the Taskforce are available in a regular blog.

Proceeds of Crime

Seizing the money and assets of criminals and organised crime groups by the Crown's Proceeds of Crime and Civil Recovery teams significantly curtails their activities, prevents them from re-investing their profits, and makes it difficult for them to carry out their criminal enterprises. Millions of pounds recovered by COPFS has been reinvested in Scottish communities through the CashBack for Communities programme.

We work closely with law enforcement agencies and use proceeds of crime laws to make Scotland a hostile place for criminals.

For more information, see our Civil Recovery Unit Annual Reports here.

Knife Crime

All those committing knife-related crime face our robust prosecution policy. Anyone arrested with a knife in Scotland’s town and city centres will be prosecuted before a sheriff and jury and face a potential prison sentence of four years. We work closely with the police and others to deter violence and protect communities.

Hate Crime

Our zero tolerance prosecution policy for hate crimes motivated by prejudice sends a clear message that there is no room for bigotry and intolerance.
Hate crime is investigated and prosecuted rigorously, for instance, using recent legislation that aggravated offences by prejudice and created offences relating to threatening communications and behaviour at football matches. Please see Victim Information and Advice and the Hate Crime publication page.

Fatalities Investigation

The Scottish Fatalities Investigation Unit considers deaths that are reported to COPFS because they need further explanation. The specialist staff in the unit, along with those in our associated Health and Safety Division, help to establish the cause of deaths and, where necessary, ensure the best case is presented in prosecutions and fatal accident inquiries.

Domestic abuse

COPFS is committed to tackling domestic abuse and reports of domestic abuse will always be viewed seriously. COPFS works closely with criminal justice partners and stakeholders to reassure victims that it is safe to come forward and that their cases will be dealt with professionally.  

Some areas have specialist domestic abuse courts.


In partnership challenging domestic abuse joint protocol

Joint protocol between Police Scotland and the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service


Domestic abuse speeches from 8 May 2014 conference by: 

The Solicitor General: 
The Specialist Procurator Fiscal for Domestic Abuse:

For further information please see Advice for Victims of Domestic Abuse leaflet.


COPFS has prioritised some categories of cases due to the seriousness of the crimes involved and the impact on victims and communities.

Our Victim Information and Advice service helps victims, witnesses and bereaved next of kin through the criminal justice process by keeping them informed of key events and helping them access support.