You might not believe it but this is what a FAC member was told when she contacted the Criminal Allegations against the Police department of the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service. Her initial complaint against a serving police officer regarding evidence given in court was made in writing to the Procurator Fiscal in March 2015.
Nine week passed without even an acknowledgement far less a receipt. During this time, she tried to make contact with them to find out what was happening and was passed from pillar to post. Eventually she received a response saying that they had investigated her claim and had decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute. All fine you might think, except they had not interviewed her as the complainant or asked to see the evidence she said she had! A phone call to COPFS to query this led to her being told to ‘pop the evidence in the post’. She asked if she should send it recorded delivery and was told ‘if you like’. She began to suspect that they were keen not to proceed with this….
In exasperation she contacted her MSP to ask for his assistance. He contacted the COPFS unit and asked for a meeting to allow her to provide her evidence. He, after a further lengthy delay, received a reply to say no they did not think a meeting would be useful but they were still willing to look at any evidence she might have…
Months passed, during which her MSP contacted the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, to indicate his concern about how her allegation was being investigated…..or not investigated. It took two months and two reminders before the bold Frank replied to say, in effect, ‘tell her to pop her evidence in the post’! Now I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I suspect if you were to phone up your local police station to tell them you’d just shot your wife or husband, they would be unlikely to direct you to the post office to buy a padded envelope for the smoking gun.
Now in even more exasperation, she wrote again to the Criminal Allegations against the Police Department of COPFS and outlined in great detail the evidence she had and asked them to tell her as a matter of urgency how they planned to ‘consider this evidence’ as they had now promised twice that they would, in the absence of any mechanism by which they might receive it. She sent it by signed for post and, having received proof of delivery, settled down to wait for the reply….that was on 24 June and, as I write, some 9 and a wee daud weeks later, no reply has been forthcoming.
So, having detailed all of this in a formal complaint to the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service Response and Information Unit (or no response and little information), to which she has received an automated acknowledgement, she has now arranged with her MSP to present herself to her local cop shop and make the allegation direct to House’s Heros (well, till November..) this very week.
We will keep you updated with developments on this intrepid citizen and her determination to report wrong-doing to the proper authorities….despite the obstacles put in her path…by the proper authorities.
ps. Did we mention at all that the officer in question has given evidence in quite a few Offensive Behaviour cases…..