The Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland has said that the pursuit â€“ in January last year â€“ was illegal as only uniformed officers and vehicles with the right visible and audible equipment could be deployed in this way.
â€œThis case serves as a timely reminder that poor complaint handling damages public confidence in the police.â€
Prof John McNeill was also dissatisfied at the way the force had handled three out of four complaints from the man relating to the how the pursuit was conducted, his questioning on the hard shoulder and the depth of road traffic law shown by one officer.
A complaint relating to alleged incivility was handled in a satisfactory way.
In his report, Prof McNeill revealed how two detectives in the unmarked car had noticed the complainantâ€™s vehicle â€œbeing driven in a manner they considered to be dangerousâ€.
The motorist was aware of a vehicle behind him flashing its headlights and had become so concerned that he eventually called 999 to report the incident.
After being told by an operator that he was being followed by officers he stopped on the hard shoulder. He was told to sit in the back of the police car by the detectives, charged with a road traffic offence and warned of the possibility of prosecution.
Prof McNeill said he was dissatisfied at the way the Force had handled the three concerns. He pointed out that ACPOS guidance said only uniformed officers could require a vehicle to stop under Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act and cars had to have been fitted with the right visible and audible equipment.
But while the force had effectively upheld the complaint relating to road traffic knowledge by issuing â€œcorrective adviceâ€ to officers, they failed to properly record it or offer an explanation.
Prof McNeil was also concerned that the driver had feared for his personal safety after he was stopped and questioned by the detectives on the hard shoulder.
The Commissioner has recommended that the force address the concerns raised by the motorist â€“ and apologies for what happened during the pursuit.
Professor McNeill said: â€œI am undertaking an audit of all forces in Scotland to establish how effective they are at identifying and recording complaints from the public.
â€œI am happy to say that this manâ€™s experience is not typical of what I have seen elsewhere in Scotland. Nonetheless, this case serves as a timely reminder that poor complaint handling damages public confidence in the police.â€
Strathclyde Police Vehicle Stop Had No Legal Basis