The Police and Procurators Fiscal

The Police and Procurators Fiscal

In Scotland, the sudden and unexpected death of an infant must be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. It is the responsibility of the Procurator Fiscal to investigate all sudden unexpected deaths. This is the law and happens in every case.  He/she will instruct the Police to carry out an investigation of the circumstances and will also require a Pathologist to carry out a post mortem examination.

The Police, the Procurator Fiscal and the health professionals will work together to try to give you an explanation as to why your baby has died.

All the information that they gather will be shared with the others involved in the investigation.

The role of the Police

Whilst you might find the involvement of the Police very upsetting, you should be assured that the purpose of the investigation is to find out, if possible, why your baby/child has died. The Police have to ask a number of questions that may be upsetting, but these are necessary and important. The information you provide will be valuable and will be passed to the Procurator Fiscal.

The Police investigation will include a detailed examination of where the baby died and interviews with the bereaved parents and anyone else who was present at the time of death. The Police may take photographs or video footage of here the baby died and they will be required to remove various items from the place where the infant was found, as part of their forensic investigation. These items can include the bedding, toys, food, milk, medications and any other items they feel are relevant. It is often the case that a baby dies at home and in these circumstances, families may have to arrange to stay somewhere else for a short time whilst the police gather the information they require. If this is necessary the Police will explain it to you. The Police will also routinely check if you have had any previous involvement with Social Services. Again this is procedure and happens in all cases.

When the Police have completed their investigation, they will submit a report to the Procurator Fiscal.