HMCIC In Poilice Complaint
Enquiry into police handling of complaint - not to reopen death enquiry
18 August 2001

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You will be aware that Mr and Mrs McLeod of Wick have expressed dissatisfaction to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland, Mr William Taylor, about the way in which Northern Constabulary handled their complaints about the actions of police officers, both during and after the investigation which was conducted into the circumstances that led to the tragic loss of their son, Kevin, on 8 February 1997 at Wick.

The Chief Constable of Northern Constabulary, Mr Bill Robertson, has today received a letter from Mr Taylor, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector for Scotland, in which he extends an invitation to the Chief Constable to reconsider the handling of this complaint.  Mr Taylor makes it clear in his letter to Mr and Mrs McLeod that there will not be a reinvestigation into the death of their son, Kevin, or the conclusions of the Fatal Accident Inquiry. 

Mr Robertson has responded that he accepts this invitation, in the spirit of openness which he attaches to the Complaints Against the Police System in Scotland, and on receipt of further clarification which he has requested on the areas upon which HMCIC has based the conclusion he has reached, steps will be taken to progress the matter. 

The Force would wish to point out that, following the concerns expressed by Mr and Mrs McLeod, a second investigation was, in fact, carried out by a Senior Investigating Officer, appointed by Northern Constabulary, who looked into the circumstances leading up to the death of their son. Thereafter, a Fatal Accident Inquiry was held by Sheriff Cameron during which he made favourable comment about the manner Northern Constabulary officers had conducted themselves during their enquiries. 

In his determination, published in September 1998, he comments that the Missing Person Enquiries were carried out by the officer in charge with commensurate expedition and efficiency. He also went on to conclude it must be noted that the second enquiry, which was very much more extensive, failed to reveal anything of further significance.
Additionally, it is a matter of record that all the enquiries conducted into the original incident and any subsequent enquiries have been reported to and, where appropriate, directed by the Procurator Fiscal at Wick. 

During the enquiry into complaints made by Mr and Mrs McLeod against officers of the Northern Constabulary where they contained any allegation which inferred criminal conduct by a police officer, these were referred to the Regional
Procurator Fiscal for the Grampian, Highlands and Islands area.  Action has also been taken to secure and investigate all reports and attempts to provide new or additional evidence which have been raised directly or on behalf of Mr and Mrs McLeod. Again, the action taken was reported to the Procurator Fiscal at Wick, no new evidence has, in fact, been forthcoming to date and, as part of these investigations, an individual was recently convicted at Wick Sheriff Court for an offence relating to a false allegation that such evidence actually exists.

In dealing with dissatisfied complainants such as Mr and Mrs McLeod, it is worth noting that HMCIC, Mr Taylor, where he feels sufficient concerns or problems exist, has the power to direct that a complaint be reconsidered and may instruct that the Force has regard to any further information which has become available during his evaluation of the original action taken.  It should be made clear this is not the action he has proposed in his letters to either the Chief Constable or to Mr and Mrs McLeod, nor did he indicate that any further information had become available during his evaluation into the original complaint enquiry conducted by Northern Constabulary. 

NB: A full explanation of how such matters are dealt with by HMCIC for Scotland can be found on the HMI Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland Website.

HM Constabulary In Scotland Web Site    Police Complaints