HMICS Publish Annual Scrutiny Plan 2015-16

Cyber policing, facial recognition and forensic services are some of the issues which HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland will be scrutinising over the coming 12 months.

The rolling programme of inspections of local policing across Police Scotland also continues with a report on Edinburgh Division of Police Scotland due to be published in September. This will follow a detailed six month inspection of policing in the Capital, with a particular focus on partnership.
In its Annual Scrutiny Plan 2015-16 published today (Thursday, July 2), HMICS has set out its priorities and programme which will lead to the publication of 12 reports  during the course of the year.

It details the comprehensive range of reviews to be carried out, in addition to the local policing+ inspections and includes proposal for follow up work with both Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority to check on their progress against the recommendations made by HMICS last year.

Read the full scrutiny plan here: HMICS ANNUAL SCRUTINY PLAN 2015-16

Read covering letter from HMICS here: Correspondence – Letter to Stakeholders – Scrutiny Plan 2015-16 – 2 July 2015HM Inspector of Constabulary

Derek Penman said: “Our approach is to support Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority to deliver services that are high quality, continually improving, effective and responsive to local needs.

“We will maintain our strong emphasis on local policing and our two thematic reviews on cyber policing and forensic services will seek to drive improvement and inform future policies.

“Our continuous improvement reviews look at how the Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland are meeting their obligations in terms of best value and our collaborative reviews with the Care Inspectorate consider how services are helping children, young people and families.  We will also publish a joint report on the effectiveness of MAPPA in terms of keeping people safe and reducing the potential risk of harm from registered sex offenders in the community.

“Facial recognition and an audit of crime recording form our audit and assurance reviews where we provide external assurance over key policing processes. We will also follow up with Police Scotland on our recent stop and search scrutiny and check on the progress made by Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority against the recommendations for improvements we made last year..

“We consulted with a range of interested parties when preparing this plan and received valuable feedback. Their input was helpful and much appreciated. Our approach is flexible in that we will adjust our programme, if necessary, to look at any new or emerging issues affecting policing.”
As a member of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), HMICS carries out regular inspections of police custody facilities in Scotland focussing on the treatment of and conditions for detainees.

Reports published by HMICS are laid before Parliament and the impact of the inspection programme is assessed by the extent to which the recommendations contained within those reports have been implemented and to what effect.


Cyber policing : This thematic review to be undertaken between October and March 2016 will consider how Police Scotland is responding to the increasing demands and complexity of cyber-enabled, cyber-dependent and internet-facilitated crime. It will look at victims, resourcing, future investment and carry out comparisons with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Forensic Services : This thematic review will take place from January to March 2016 and will scrutinise how the Scottish Police Authority is meeting its obligations to provide forensic services to Police Scotland, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner and the Lord Advocate and Crown Office.
Leadership and Governance : This continuous improvement review, from April to September, builds on previous activity and will support the Scottish Police Authority to offer effective and sustainable scrutiny to Scottish policing.
Strategic Planning and Performance : This continuous improvement review, from April to September, will assess the strategic planning and performance management frameworks within Police Scotland.

Edinburgh Division : This local policing+ inspection is currently underway and is due to be reported on in September.
Dumfries and Galloway : This local policing+ inspection is expected to be undertaken during October and November with the report published early in 2016.
Children’s Services : HMICS seconds two staff on a full-time basis to assist with the joint inspection and collaborative reviews of services for children and young people across Scotland. The inspections look at  community planning partnership areas and include services provided by health visitors, school nurses, teachers, doctors, social workers and police officers. These reports are published by the Care Inspectorate.
MAPPA (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements) : This collaborative review with the Care Inspectorate is due to publish its findings in November. It is assessing how effective the local authorities are in discharging their duties and the arrangements that are in place for significant case reviews and the learning from them.
Facial Recognition : This audit and assurance review, which will conclude in September, considers the use by Police Scotland of the facial recognition technology capabilities within the UK Police National Database. It is looking at the use of custody and biometric images, recording and retention of information and will provide comparisons with England and Wales.
Crime Recording : The scoping for this audit and assurance review, which will be a follow up to the major audit of crime recording published in November 2014,  will begin in March 2016.
Stop and Search Phase 2 : This audit and assurance review, which will be undertaken in spring 2016, will build on our previous scrutiny of stop and search and include a statistically significant  audit of both positive and negative searches.
National Preventative Mechanism – HMICS is a member of the United Kingdom’s National Preventive Mechanism, a group of organisations designated under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) to monitor places of detention and report on the treatment of and conditions for detainees. As a member of the NPM, HMICS carries out regular inspections of police custody in Scotland. We publish reports of these inspections, identify good practice and make recommendations for improvement.