Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and the Police

Investigation of health and safety offences - working with the procurator fiscal and the police

HSE operates and applies the same policies and standards throughout Great Britain however, an important difference for HSE and other health and safety regulators in Scotland, is that while in England and Wales HSE makes the decision to prosecute and conducts cases ourselves, in Scotland prosecution decisions and the conduct of cases is entirely for the procurator fiscal.

HSE's role is to investigate possible offences and then report the matter, with our recommendations, to the fiscal for them to ;decide what action to take. The fiscal is not bound to follow HSE's recommendations. It is therefore very important that HSE and procurators fiscal liaise closely to ensure the interests of justice are met.

In 2009 Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS is the headquarters of the procurator fiscal service) formed a specialist health and safety division of procurators fiscal and support staff dedicated to progressing health and safety cases. HSE and COPFS Health and Safety Division have worked together to develop common understanding and effective case management.

Over the same period there has been the implementation of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 and the Work Related Death Protocol for Scotland, signed by COPFS, ACPOS (the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland), British Transport Police and HSE. This ensures that, when a work related death occurs, a thorough, co-ordinated, multi agency investigation takes place and all possible offences are considered.

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Updated 2021-10-06