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COPFS

Police Officers – Criminal Allegations (R011316)

Freedom of Information: Police Officers – Criminal Allegations (R011316)

Thank you for your e-mail of 21 September 2015 in which you seek the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

“1. Broken down by years 13/14 and 14/15, how many police officers have been reported to the Crown/fiscal service by Police Scotland in respect of criminal allegations? For these specific cases that were reported in this period, please provide the figures for a) no action taken b)court proceedings were raised c) no decision has yet to be reached.

2.  Broken down by years 13/14 and 14/15, how many police officers have been reported to the Crown/fiscal service by Police Scotland in respect of data protection offences? For these specific cases that were reported in this period, please provide the figures for a) no action taken b)court proceedings were raised c) no decision has yet to be reached.”

We have now undertaken a search of our electronic records.

I can advise a total of 136 police officers were reported to COPFS in 2013/14 and 131 police officers in 2014/15. From 2013, 29 were dealt with by way of a direct measure, which is an alternative to prosecution in less serious cases. Direct measures are used where the Procurator Fiscal considers it is in the public interest to take action, but where a criminal prosecution may not be the most appropriate course of action.

The breakdown of the figures you have requested is contained in the table below. Please note these figures include those reported for Data Protection offences during this period.

Police officers reported to COPFS



2013-14

2014-15

Total

No action

46

42

88

Court Proceedings (summary)

61

23

84

Conviction

38

3

41

No Conviction

10

4

14

No Further Action

3

0

3

Ongoing

10

16

26

No decision yet

18

48

66

Total

125

113

238


The full reasoning for making decisions must include a full consideration of all the facts and circumstances in a case and a decision to take no action may be based on a number of contributing factors. 

When a prosecutor considering a case decides to take no action, they must select the appropriate code from our electronic system in order to record the primary reason for the decision to take no action.  I can confirm that in the majority of the cases which were marked for no action, the reason for this was that there was insufficient credible, reliable, admissible and corroborated evidence capable of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed and that the person accused was responsible for committing it.

A total of 64 police officers were reported for Data Protection offences in 2013/14 and 54 police officers in 2014/15. From 2013, 9 have been dealt with by way of a direct measure. Again, the breakdown of the figures you have requested is contained in the table below.

Police officers reported for data protection offences



2013-14

2014-15

Total

No action

30

16

46

Court Proceedings (summary)

13

1

14

Conviction

6

0

6

No Further Action

2

0

2

Ongoing

5

1

6

No decision yet

15

34

49

Total

58

51

109


I can advise that of the 118 officers who were reported for data protection offences, 107 of these officers were only reported for data protection charges.  The other 11 had other charges as well.  For the avoidance of doubt, the specific charge under the Data Protection Act 1998 that all of the officers were reported for was contravening section 55(1)(a/b) (knowingly or recklessly and without consent obtaining or disclosing/procuring the disclosure of personal data).

Again, I can confirm that in the majority of the cases which were marked for no action, the reason for this was that there was insufficient credible, reliable, admissible and corroborated evidence capable of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed and that the person accused was responsible for committing it.