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Assaults by officers claims at lowest for six years

Allegations of assault made against police officers are at a six-year low, new figures show.

Police dealt with 476 complaints in 2012/13, relating to duty officers being accused of assault.

Just four of these cases resulted in criminal proceedings, with one conviction.

In 384 cases the procurator fiscal decided no proceedings should be started against the officer concerned, while in 69 cases the allegation was later withdrawn by the complainer. Three complaints ended due to a lack of co-operation from the complainer.

Ten complaints of assault were either found to be unsubstantiated or were not proceeded with because of a lack of evidence. Three were resolved after an explanation was given to the complainer and two were dealt with using an alternative to prosecution, while one complaint was found to be malicious.

The figures appear in a report on police complaints for 2012/13 - the year running up to Scotland's eight regional police forces merging into one national force. It was published by Police Investigations and Review Commissioner Professor John McNeill.

Overall, police received 4306 complaint cases last year, comprising 7893 allegations. The number of complaints received was down 1.7% on a year before.

Professor McNeill said: "I am a firm believer that if a complaint raises wider or systemic issues then any lessons learned should be shared across the entire police service and not restricted to the area where the complaint originated. This is an important part of driving up standards in complaints handling."

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