HMICS Counter Corruption Unit Assurance Review - Terms of Reference

Monday, 11 January, 2016

HMICS has published its Terms of Reference for its assurance review of Police Scotland’s Counter Corruption Unit.

The aim of this assurance review is to assess the state, effectiveness and efficiency of Police Scotland’s Counter Corruption Unit (CCU). The review will provide an independent assessment of the operations, systems and procedures in place, including compliance with the relevant legislation, codes of practice, policies, procedures and recognised best practice.

This HMICS review was requested by the Scottish Police Authority in response to a finding by the Interception of Communications Commissioner that there had been contraventions of the Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data, Code of Practice 2015 in respect of five applications for communications data submitted by Police Scotland. These related to one investigation being undertaken by Police Scotland’s Counter Corruption Unit.

The investigation by the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO) into these breaches by Police Scotland is exclusively a matter for IOCCO and our review will not cover any matters that are properly the statutory remit of that organisation.

Although our review will not re-examine or comment on the finding by the Commissioner, it will include an examination of the wider investigation conducted by Police Scotland’s Counter Corruption Unit into the circumstances which gave rise to these applications. HMICS will maintain contact with the  Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) throughout to ensure it does not compromise the integrity of any ongoing judicial proceedings.

While we will examine the co-ordination of activity between Police Scotland’s Counter Corruption Unit and its Professional Standards Department (PSD), we will not be undertaking a comprehensive review of PSD.

The Scottish Police Authority has set out expectations of the areas to be reviewed by HMICS:

  • Independent view of the operations, systems and procedures in place
  • Independence of the internal investigation function
  • Governance and accountability
  • Training and guidance for officers and staff
  • Assurance against best practice

These have been incorporated into our methodology and will be addressed through the development of Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOE) and our structured Inspection Framework.

HMICS will ensure that appropriate stakeholder consultation and engagement, including but not limited to Police Scotland, Scottish Police Authority, Scottish Government, staff associations and unions, elected representatives is undertaken as part of the assurance review process to understand key issues and concerns.

Our review will be undertaken in terms of Section  74 (2) (a) of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 and will be laid before Scottish Parliament in terms of Section 79 (3) of the Act.We anticipate publishing a report of our findings in Spring 2016 which will be in line with the timeline requested by the Scottish Police Authority.  A copy of our report will be provided to the Scottish Police Authority, the Chief Constable and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Our report will also be made publicly available on the HMICS website.

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