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COPFS

Complaints Against the Police (18/11/2016) (R014400)

Thank you for your e-mail of 26 September 2016 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

“1.The total number of referrals to CAAP of allegations of criminality against Police Scotland officers from the inception of a single police authority 1st April 2013 until present

2. Number of referrals as above in each category of crime

3. The total number of prosecutions made by the CAAP against Police Scotland officers in the same time period.

4. The numbers of prosecutions as above in each category of crime.

5. The total number of convictions of Police Scotland Officers achieved by the COPFS in the period from the inception of a single police authority 1st April 2013 until present.

6. The number of convictions of police officers in each category of crime achieved by the COPFS in the period from the inception of a single police authority 1st April 2013 until present.

7. The sentences passed in each of the successful convictions in the period from the inception of a single police authority 1st April 2013 until present.”

Firstly I should explain that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s case management database is a live, operating database.  It is designed to meet our business needs in relation to the processing of cases and the information within it is structured accordingly.  We do not have a separate statistical database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes. 

Where we have provided data, this data relates to serving police officers on duty reported by way of a Standard Prosecution Report (SPR) to the COPFS Criminal Allegations Against the Police Division (CAAP-D) from 1 April 2013 to the date of your request.

In answer to the individual points of your request I can advise as follows:


1.The total number of referrals to CAAPD of allegations of criminality against Police Scotland officers from the inception of a single police authority 1st April 2013 until present

335 criminal cases were received by CAAP Division during this period.

The figures provided relate only to criminal cases where COPFS has received a Standard Prosecution Report (SPR) from the police.  For your information a significant proportion of criminal allegations against the police are reported initially by way of a template report.  Template reports will be submitted even where there is assessed to be an insufficiency of evidence, unlike an SPR. There has to be a distinction drawn between cases where there is a sufficiency of evidence and cases reported by template where there is an insufficiency of evidence but which are reported to COPFS in order that COPFS can independently review the quality of investigation, and to demonstrate transparency. Criminal proceedings can only be raised where there is assessed to be a sufficiency of admissible evidence. All criminal allegations against police officers are thoroughly and rigorously investigated and proceedings taken where Crown Counsel consider that there is sufficient evidence that is credible and reliable.  COPFS will always request an SPR where Crown Counsel instruct proceedings. For cases where no proceedings are taken, there will be a significant number where no SPR is ever requested or submitted.

2. Number of referrals as above in each category of crime

We are unable to provide data in response to this request.  As I have explained above where we have provided data, this relates to SPRs reported to COPFS over the period of your request.  Unfortunately, due to the way data is recorded on our electronic system, we are unable to electronically breakdown the categories of charge reported in relation to each SPR.   It would require a member of COPFS staff to manually check each of the SPRs received to provide a breakdown of different categories of charge.   Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12. Given that the number of SPRs reported over the period of your request totals 335 I hope you will appreciate that this exercise would in terms of staff time exceed the upper cost limit referred to above and as a result we are unable to assist with this aspect of your request.  

3. The total number of prosecutions made by the CAAPD against Police Scotland officers in the same time period

113 prosecutions were raised in relation to cases reported against Police Scotland Officers during this period.

4. The numbers of prosecutions as above in each category of crime



Similar to point 2 above, we are unable to provide data in response to this request.  As explained above where we have provided data, this relates to SPRs reported to COPFS over the period of your request.  Due to the way data is recorded on our electronic system, we are unable to electronically breakdown the categories of charge reported in relation to each SPR.   It would require a member of COPFS staff to manually check each of the  SPRs involved to provide a breakdown of different categories of charge relating to each SPR.   Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

5. The total number of convictions of Police Scotland Officers achieved by the COPFS in the period from the inception of a single police authority 1st April 2013 until present

57 convictions were recorded against Police Scotland Officers in relation to cases reported during this period.

6. The number of convictions of police officers in each category of crime achieved by the COPFS in the period from the inception of a single police authority 1st April 2013 until present.

Similar to points 2 and 4 above, we are unable to provide data in response to this request.  As already explained above the data we have provided relates to SPRs reported to COPFS over the period of your request.  Due to the way data is recorded on our electronic system, we are unable to electronically breakdown the categories of charge reported in relation to each SPR.   It would require a member of COPFS staff to manually check each of the SPRs involved to provide a breakdown of different categories of charge relating to each SPR.   Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12.

7. The sentences passed in each of the successful convictions in the period from the inception of a single police authority 1st April 2013 until present.

You can obtain statistical information about sentencing from the Scottish Government Justice Department's Court Proceedings Database, which is designed to provide statistical information. This database contains information about cases prosecuted in all courts and can provide information either at the level of the specific offence or by certain broader groupings of offences (eg crimes of violence, crimes of dishonesty, offences involving drugs etc). You can contact the Scottish Government Justice Department at mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..