Annex A : Office Audits
The current Business Plan provides for every office to be inspected for compliance with Crown Office race policies and this programme will be completed in early 2007.
The approach to these inspections mirrors our first thematic report and deals with race crime, interpreting/translation, staff profiles, investigation of deaths, complaints against the police and outreach/consultation activities.
The Lord Advocate issued (having consulted with the Commission for Racial Equality) detailed instructions to Procurators Fiscal on the approach to be adopted to the prosecution of race crime. A strong presumption in favour of prosecution where there is sufficient evidence was put in place. Over 1,200 individual charges (900 cases) have been examined by us and overall compliance has been very high.
The overall national figure of staff from a minority ethnic background (as self reported) is 2% which mirrors the general minority ethnic population for Scotland (based on current available data).
The following is an office-by-office brief summary of what was found. The full reports can be read on our website at www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Justice/ipis/Intro
Aberdeen - October 2005
The Aberdeen office had a high level of compliance with the departmental policy relating to the prosecution of race cases.
Particular care had been shown in those deaths which required sensitive handling for religious or cultural reasons.
On outreach and consultation the Aberdeen office had the benefit of a local Racial Equality Council on which it is represented and a Diversity Team to take forward diversity issues.
Airdrie - March 2005
The Airdrie office was found to have a high standard of compliance with the prosecution policy on race cases.
Consultation with the local community appears to be particularly effective.
Arbroath - March 2006
During 2002 and 2003 the Arbroath office showed an apparent high level of non-compliance with Crown Office policy on prosecution of race cases. However, the papers were no longer available and could not be reviewed to determine the precise reason. In respect of the years 2003-04 and 2004-05, with the exception of two cases which we were unable to examine, we found that all the others had been dealt with appropriately indicating that any problem here might have been historical rather than current.
Ayr - April 2005
The Ayr office had a high level of compliance with departmental policy on prosecution of race cases.
The office fast-tracked race crimes and was active in trying to improve conditions for interpreters working at court.
Campbeltown - May 2006
Campbeltown had a high level of compliance with policies on prosecution of race cases. However, we did have some concern that not all suitable cases were being referred to VIA (Victim Information and Advice). The staff in the office did show commendable commitment in dealing with Campbeltown work despite its distance from its Area Headquarters (Paisley).
Dumfries - July 2005
The Dumfries office had a very high level of compliance with departmental policy on the prosecution of race crime.
So far as outreach with the local community is concerned the office is well served by a number of dedicated members of staff with a long history of interest in this area. This is despite the low level of the minority ethnic community in the area.
Dundee - May 2006
Overall compliance with policy in the marking of race cases in Dundee was high. Although we highlight what we consider to be some breaches these were small compared to the overall case numbers.
In addition, several members of staff were active in outreach activities with the local community.
Dunfermline - November 2005
The Dunfermline office had a high level of compliance with departmental policy regarding prosecution of race cases.
A death of a member of the minority ethnic community had been particularly sensitively handled.
Several initiatives were underway at the time of inspection regarding outreach into the local community.
Edinburgh - April 2006
Given the volume of cases examined (our biggest inspection at that time) compliance with the policy on the prosecution of race crime was very high. The few cases with which we took issue being very much the exception.
Various initiatives to carry forward liaison with the local community were in existence.
Two cases of complaints against the police involving a minority ethnic complainer were examined and both were found to have been dealt with properly.
Forfar - March 2006
Of the charges examined by us in the Forfar office two were, in our opinion, found not be have complied with the prosecution policy. These are discussed in detail in our report.
The District Fiscal and his Depute are both members of the Area Diversity Team. The District Fiscal provides feedback from the Area Diversity Team to staff in the Forfar office.
Fort William - September 2005
The Fort William office had a very high level of compliance with departmental policy on the prosecution of race crime.
The area has a fairly high level of immigrant workers and the local District Fiscal is well aware that these are frequently the target of racial abuse.
Glasgow G Division - June/July 2005
A high number of race offences are reported to Glasgow G Division and our analysis of a large number of these showed an overall very high level of compliance with departmental policy. The three exceptions we found had largely been dealt with at the time of the inspection.
Glasgow G Division had made strenuous efforts both in conjunction with partners and on its own initiative to obtain links with the local community. It is to be commended for this work.
The staffing profile in the Glasgow office for members from the minority ethnic community is 14% against the local population of 5%. This is in no short measure due to the number of outreach initiatives conducted by the Glasgow office. In particular it had the benefit of a secondee from the West of Scotland Racial Equality Council and staff visits to mosques, Sikh temples, etc. are frequent and very popular.
Hamilton - October 2004
Individual race cases were not examined in Hamilton on this preliminary visit but it had a very sophisticated case-tracking and monitoring system. This ensured that the person responsible for monitoring race cases was certain that all such cases were referred to her.
It was also found to be in the van of good practice regarding outreach initiatives and again made good use of the assistance offered by a secondee from the West of Scotland Racial Equality Council.
A number of deaths involving the minority ethnic community were examined and all had been dealt with in an extremely sensitive and effective manner.
Inverness - September 2005
The Inverness office had a high level of compliance with departmental policy on the prosecution of race crime.
Consultation with the local community is a strong point of the office and the Area Business Manager at the time of inspection was the Chair of the Highland Alliance for Racial Equality ( HARE) which is the main vehicle for keeping in touch with the local minority ethnic community. The area also had a significant number of immigrant workers particularly of Polish and Kurdish extraction. Relevant deaths had been properly and sensitively dealt with.
Jedburgh - June 2006
Overall compliance in the Jedburgh office with Crown Office policies on race crime was high.
So far as outreach is concerned the District Fiscal is kept informed of race issues at Area Team Management meetings and the local police also liaise with him on any such issues. Any relevant information is passed on to the staff.
Kilmarnock - April 2005
The Kilmarnock office had a high level of compliance with departmental policy on the prosecution of race crime, indeed no breaches of any description were found on inspection.
Partnership working and outreach were found to be very much on the agenda of the Kilmarnock office. A considerable amount of outreach work had been done. In addition, efforts were made to assist interpreters called to court. The office was also proactive in monitoring the profile of offences and offenders.
Lanark - February 2005
Lanark had a high level of compliance with prosecution policy on race crime.
Lochmaddy - April 2006
Only one case was examined from the Lochmaddy office which on the face of it involved a deviation from the policy but on closer examination good reasons were found for the course that had been adopted.
Paisley - January 2006
Generally, compliance with prosecution policy on race crime in Paisley was high. The few cases with which we took issue being very much in the minority.
Consultation with the local community was continuing and at the time of inspection networking arrangements were under review.
Perth - August 2005
Perth had a high level of compliance with the prosecution policy on race crime.
At the time of inspection outreach initiatives were in their infancy. However, an infrastructure had been put in place. The District Fiscal was a member of the local Multi-Agency Racial Incident Monitoring Group ( MARIM) which had been established by a former member of the Fiscal staff.
Selkirk - June 2006
Overall, compliance of the policy on prosecution of race crime was high in the Selkirk office. The local minority ethnic community is very small mostly involved in the catering industry.
Stirling - February 2006
Stirling had a very high level of compliance with the policy on the prosecution of race crime and there were several examples of good practice.
On the consultation front, Stirling had been proactive in maintaining and creating links with the local community.
In addition, six cases of complaints against the police by members of the minority ethnic community were examined and all were found to have been properly investigated.
Stornoway - April 2006
The Stornoway office showed a high level of compliance with prosecution policy on race crime, most of the complainers being of English origin.
Stranraer - August 2006
The Stranraer office had a high level of compliance with prosecution policy on race crime several examples of good practice being found.