Computerization in the Prosecution
Service in Scotland
Robert G. Donaldson
The Government Department is responsible for the public prosecution of crime in Scotland where local prosecutors are called Procurators Fiscal. The Crown Office in Edinburgh is the headquarters of the Procurator Fiscal service, and there are forty-nine Procurator Fiscal offices located throughout Scotland, six of which are of regional status, namely Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee, Hamilton, and Paisley. The department staff consists of 1,100 members mainly of qualified professional legal grades with support administrative staff. Offices range in size from those with hundreds of permanent staff to offices that are only open one or two days a week at most. The main computer strategy of the department is to develop record-keeping/case-tracking/management information systems throughout the six geographical Procurator Fiscal regions in Scotland and should be based on the regional offices. We have started this implementation using the PROMIS (Prosecutors Management Information System) software package marketed by the software company Inslaw based in Washington, DC.
In the late 1970s at a Council of Europe colloquy at The Hague in Holland, the then head of our department, the former Crown Agent, saw a computer system that he felt would greatly benefit the running of his Procurator Fiscal offices in Scotland. Further examination, study, and research of this system confirmed his initial thoughts, but it was not until 1983, following a competitive procurement exercise lasting over a year, that the actual purchase of computer hardware and application software for the first stage of implementation of the