Chapter 1 – Introduction
1.1 The Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland ( IPS) was created in December 2003. It is the independent inspectorate for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service ( COPFS), which is the sole prosecuting authority in Scotland and also responsible for investigating sudden deaths and complaints of a criminal nature against the police. The Inspectorate was put on a statutory basis by the Criminal Proceedings etc (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007, Part 5 (sections 78 and 79) and given statutory powers and responsibilities.
1.2 The principal functions of the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland are to inspect, or arrange for the inspection of, the operation of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and to report to the Lord Advocate on any matter connected with the operation of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service which the Lord Advocate refers to the IPS. The overall aim is to contribute to improvements in service delivery of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, contribute to the accountability of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and enhance public confidence in the system of public prosecution in Scotland.
1.3 The IPS carries out wide ranging inspections of the 11 separate Areas of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Scotland together with Crown Office (Headquarters) functions. In addition it carries out thematic works either singly or more commonly in conjunction with criminal justice partners.
1.4 The IPS is committed to observing agreed policy on the principles of inspection including taking a customer focus, pursuing the purpose of improvement, being evidence based and publishing all reports.
1.5 This is the eighth thematic report prepared by the Inspectorate.
1.6 All reports can be viewed on the Inspectorate's website at www.scotland.gov.uk/topics/justice/ipis.
1.7 In common with current thinking on inspection the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland takes a risk based approach to choice of topics. Summary Justice Reform generally represented a major change in the criminal justice system and enhanced powers to Procurators Fiscal to issue Fiscal Fines, Compensation Offers etc was identified as a suitable topic for consideration once the system had bedded in. Accordingly this became part of the IPS's Business Plan.
1.8 Following media and other concerns about the issue of Fiscal Fines we published in February 2009 a thematic report on the use of Fiscal Fines.
1.9 This report is a follow up from that dealing with powers given to the Procurator Fiscal Service to issue combined Fiscal Fines and Compensation Offers and stand alone Compensation Offers.
JOSEPH T O'DONNELL
HM CHIEF INSPECTOR OF PROSECUTION