14th Nov 2017

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr
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Scottish Police Authority members accuse MSPs of ‘meddling’ in PhD paper

Police authority members have accused Scottish Government ministers of meddling in their work. And they claim they have been left “toothless” in their oversight of Police Scotland because of the behaviour of the Government.  The views of the members of the troubled Scottish Police Authority are revealed in an academic paper.  Dr Ali Malik, of Edinburgh University, carried out the study for a PhD paper on police governance and accountability.


House-breaking up by almost half in Borders, figures reveal

The number of house-breakings reported in the Borders so far this year is up almost half on last year, new police statistics reveal. That 47% rise in thefts from houses, with 17 more victims reported, is one of the figures given in the latest Police Scotland scrutiny report for the region. It is partly attributed to an increase in travelling criminals targeting the Borders over recent months.  In response to the rise, there is to be a focus on home security as part of the police’s upcoming festive campaign.  A report to last Friday’s meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s police, fire and rescue and safer communities board last week said: “The Scottish Borders has seen an increase in travelling criminals committing both business and domestic housebreakings in recent months.


Prisons to block mobile signals in crackdown on illegal phones

Mobile phone signals are to be blocked in Scotland’s prisons in an attempt to crack down on illegal phone use behind bars. Michael Matheson, Scotland’s justice secretary, plans to announce the measure when he appears before MSPs today. He will say that parliamentary regulations are to be used to get tough with criminals who run illegal activity from their cells and who use the devices to order drugs and other contraband into prisons.  Network technology is to be used to create mobile phone dead areas inside Scotland’s jails. Also, some phones will be removed from the national network if they are found to have been used in prisons.


Action needed to restore confidence in the SPA, says MSPs

Action musts be taken to restore public confidence in Scotland‘s police watchdog after its own board criticised it for being “useless”. MSPs have said that confidence in the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) is at an all-time low and questioned why it was not free from political interference. The comments came after a report by academic Dr Ali Malik found that some board members believed the SPA to be a “waste of time”, toothless and in the “pocket” of the SNP Government. Scottish Labour’s Justice spokesperson Claire Baker MSP said: “Confidence in the ability of the SPA to do its job is at an all-time low. This year both the Chair and the Chief Executive left after significant criticism from HMICS and parliamentary committees, and now it seems its own board members do not have confidence in it as an organisation. ”


‘High Risk’ Police Scotland Exposing Themselves to Cyber-Fraud

Police Scotland has been warned by business advisory firm Scott-Moncrieff that its systems have a number of ‘maturing’ IT systems that are inconsistent in performance, in a recent performance audit. The report, handed privately to the Scottish Police Authority but now available online, has advised that Police Scotland’s directors are facing a massive bill in updating legacy systems which are still in place after the eight forces merged into one in 2013. The audit also alleges that tech staff are not testing for unauthorised code changes in software used by the police.  Key IT flaws that were identified include: “Specific areas where improvement is needed include software development testing, capacity planning, configuration management and IT disaster recovery.” Andrew Taylor, CEO of BeCyberSure, warned of the ramifications that outdated systems entail, including more avenues of attack and increased difficulty in complying with GDPR coming next May. Taylor said: “If you combine poorly designed systems with human failings, criminals will exploit the opportunity. With strong new data protection laws coming in next May, this potentially puts police in an area of high-risk.


Top officer stays on leave after fifth bullying allegation

Police Scotland’s chief constable is facing a fifth bullying complaint. It is understood that the latest allegation against Phil Gormley – reportedly by a civilian worker – has been sent to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).   Mr Gormley, who stepped aside in September after the second complaint, has been accused of bullying with three of the complaints passed to the independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), while a fourth is being considered internally.   He took a leave of absence to help the PIRC examine the alleged grievances.


Mackay warns Chancellor of ‘serious challenges’ on Brexit ahead of Budget

End austerity to protect growth, Scottish Government finance minister Derek Mackay has warned Chancellor Philip Hammond ahead of next week’s Budget. In a letter to the Treasury chief, Mackay says he has set out a “comprehensive case for a better settlement for Scotland.” The Finance Secretary also uses his letter to ask Hammond to “ensure a fair deal for Scottish Farmers through allocation of Common Agriculture Policy convergence uplift to Scotland” He also argues for the Scottish Police and Fire Services to recover their £35m annual VAT bill.


Police chief on £110,000-a-year admits visiting Ashley Madison adultery website but says it was only ‘out of interest in data protection issues’

A top police boss was caught visiting the Ashley Madison adultery website but claimed it was only ‘out of interest in data protection’. Kenneth Hogg, the Scottish Police Authority’s interim chief officer, admitted going on the site after his log-in details were revealed by hackers.  Ashley Madison, which reached 52.7million members worldwide in May, helps people seeking to cheat on their partners, with the motto: ‘Life is short. Have an affair’.


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