Q927: What is the Recorded Police Warning Scheme?

From January 11 2016, Police Scotland in conjunction with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) will implement the Recorded Police Warning (RPW) Scheme. This scheme will replace the Formal Adult Warning scheme which has been in place for a number of years. The RPW scheme will enable officers to deal with a wide range of low level offences by issuing a Recorded Police Warning, on the spot or retrospectively, in the form of a notice.

A significant number of cases reported to the Procurator Fiscal against adult offenders result in either no action being taken due to the minor nature of the offending or a non-court disposal being administered by the Procurator Fiscal.

The overlying principles of the Recorded Police Warning is that it provides officers with a more speedy, effective and proportionate means of dealing with low level offending. Officer discretion is required to ensure that the police response to low level offending is proportionate to the justice outcome.

The circumstances of each incident will be fully assessed by officers when deciding on whether to issue a Recorded Police Warning or take another course of action such as issuing an Anti-Social Behaviour Fixed Penalty Notice (ASB FPN) or submitting a formal prosecution report to the Procurator Fiscal.

If the warning is refused at the time of dealing with the offence, officers can escalate to an ASB FPN, or where no ASB FPN offence exists will report the case to the Procurator Fiscal. If the warning is accepted, the alleged offender has 28 days to appeal in writing. The appeal may result in a report being submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

The warning can be issued to any person over the age of 16. It is not a finding of guilt but is an alternative to prosecution and will be recorded on the Criminal History System for a period of two years and can be taken into account should the offender come to the further notice of the police. The RPW could be considered for disclosure in relevant circumstances.

In order for a Recorded Police Warning to be issued the officer must ensure that there is sufficiency of evidence and the crime will be recorded on the crime recording system.

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