This joint inspection report assesses the use and impact of key emergency criminal justice provisions introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and considers whether any aspects of the emergency provisions could result in more efficient and effective ways of working in the longer term.
The inspection was carried out jointly by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland and HM Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland.
A range of provisions were made to enable the criminal justice system to continue to operate during the initial response to the pandemic. Our inspection focused on four of these, three of which were legislative and one of which was a change in policy.
The four provisions considered in this report are:
(1) Electronic signature and electronic transmission of documents
(2) Remote, electronic attendance of parties at court
(3) The ability to take a case beginning with an appearance from custody in any sheriff court (‘national jurisdiction’)
(4) The Lord Advocate’s Guidelines on liberation by the police during Covid-19.