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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-25292

  • Asked by: Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Date lodged: 6 February 2024
  • Current status: Answered by Angela Constance on 4 March 2024


To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the findings of the report, Nothing to See Here, which was published on 5 February 2024, and, in particular, the findings that (a) "official narratives" suggest that most deaths in custody are "regrettable but inevitable" and (b) "FAIs are normalising the deaths of drug users as inevitable".


Every death in custody is tragic and a matter for concern. We will carefully consider the findings of this report. The health and wellbeing of all those in custody is a priority for this Government and we continue to work with partners to ensure their safety.

Regarding drug use in custody, the Scottish Government funds a variety of programmes aimed at encouraging recovery. This includes the Prison Recovery Project, which supports access to recovery options and choice in prison, as well as creating links to the community and the Prison to Rehab pathway, which enables individuals to access residential rehabilitation on release from prison.

More broadly, the Scottish Government is supporting a range of actions in relation to deaths in custody: the Scottish Prison Service recently completed a thorough review of their Death in Prison Learning Audit and Review process, designed to improve their support for vulnerable people in their care; His Majesty’s Inspectorate of the Constabulary Scotland has undertaken joint healthcare inspections of police custody facilities, working with Healthcare Improvement Scotland to ensure that health issues are fully considered; and the Mental Welfare Commission recently concluded pilot work to develop a new investigatory system for those who died while subject to an order under mental health legislation.

The Lord Advocate is constitutionally responsible for the investigation of sudden, unexpected and suspicious deaths in Scotland. Any conclusions reached or recommendations made at the end of a Fatal Accident Inquiry are a matter for the Sheriff who has heard all the evidence.