30th Nov 2017

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr

With nearly 23,000 officers and staff, Police Scotland is a massive organisation and, as such, requires strong and effective leadership. This is a truism that ordinarily would not need to be said, but The Scotsman feels required to do so given the “crisis, what crisis?” approach adopted by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson. This seems at odds with reality. The force’s Chief Constable is on “special leave” amid an investigation into claims of misconduct; an Assistant Chief Constable and three other senior officers have been suspended over “criminal and misconduct allegations”; and the Deputy Chief Constable who is currently running the show had planned to retire this autumn.


And so it begins. Hardly had Nicola Sturgeon finished laying out proposals to increase taxes in a bid to end austerity, but the queue of public sector workers in search of a pay rise began to form. As The Scotsman reveals today, the Scottish Police Federation is warning that it would be an “unforgivable act of betrayal” if its members were to miss out following the decision to lift of the public sector pay cap next year. Their fears may or may not be justified, but what seems certain is that a growing clamour for more money by workers from all across the public sector is going to become a major issue for the Scottish Government.


Justice Secretary accused of complacency over Police Scotland crisis

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson was yesterday accused of complacency after insisting the public can have confidence in Police Scotland. Mr Matheson made a Holyrood statement defending his stewardship of the justice brief in the wake of the single police force being hit by a series of controversies. The Chief Constable Phil Gormley and one of his assistant chief constables have both been taken off duty. Mr Gormley was placed on “special leave” in September as allegations of gross misconduct are investigated by the independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).


Police Scotland’s travails have raised questions about the service’s structure. Despite its recent troubles though it’s important to bear in mind that on a daily basis outstanding work is still delivered by those who serve in it. My successor as Justice Secretary has been required to make a statement in Parliament which is right and proper. He’s also right not to rush to judgement but to allow due process to be followed before taking any action. There’s a new chair arriving at the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and the current acting Chief Constable is settling in. That allows greater stability and time for them to review the situation. Thereafter, any proposed changes can be implemented.


Scotland’s justice secretary has been accused of complacency after insisting the country’s troubled police force was still the “match of policing anywhere in the world”. Michael Matheson told MSPs that the public could still have confidence in Police Scotland, despite a leadership crisis that has left the force without a chief constable, an assistant chief constable and other senior officers. Phil Gormley, the chief constable, has been on “special leave” since September as claims of gross misconduct are investigated by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner.


Public can be confident in Police Scotland, says minister

The public can remain confident in Police Scotland, according to the justice secretary. Michael Matheson defended the national force after it emerged assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins and three other officers were suspended after “a number of criminal and misconduct allegations” were made. Police Scotland’s chief constable, Phil Gormley, has been on special leave since September following allegations of gross misconduct. Both Mr Gormley and Mr Higgins deny any wrongdoing. Matheson faced questions at Holyrood after delivering a statement on the state of the nation’s police force.


There is no crisis in policing in Scotland, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary has said. Derek Penman, who is HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, spoke out after opposition MSPs claimed the loss of key staff had left the force in “chaos”. But he stressed allegations about the conduct of senior officers must be “robustly and independently investigated” for public confidence to be maintained. Scotland’s top police officer, Chief Constable Phil Gormley, was placed on “special leave” in September as allegations of gross misconduct are investigated by the independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).


Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has announced two new Temporary Assistant Chief Constables to bolster the Police Scotland command team. Speaking yesterday at the Scottish Police Authority meeting in Stirling, DCC Livingstone said the SPA board had agreed to appoint Chief Superintendents Gillian MacDonald and Alan Speirs into the new roles. Both officers have successfully completed the Strategic Command Course and are therefore qualified to be Chief Officers.


Renfrewshire’s policing plan for the next three years has been welcomed by Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson. The Renfrewshire Local Police Plan 2017-2020 details Police Scotland’s main objectives for policing, tackling crime and keeping people safe over the next three years. It has been formed following extensive public consultation and detailed discussion with the Council and its community partners to identify common issues across Renfrewshire.


Minister denies Scottish policing is in crisis after string of suspensions

There is no crisis in Scottish policing, the Holyrood justice minister has said following a string of high-profile suspensions from the national force. In a statement to the Holyrood chamber on Wednesday, Michael Matheson said: “Our ongoing scrutiny of Police Scotland has consistently shown that police officers and police staff at all levels remain committed to delivering policing into our communities that I believe is the match of policing anywhere in the world.” The assurances follow a turbulent few weeks for the force, which has seen four officers – including an assistant chief constable – suspended as part of a criminal inquiry, while the chief constable remains on special leave pending the investigation of a string of misconduct allegations against him.


‘No crisis’ in Police Scotland says top cop

POLICE Scotland is not in crisis, a top cop has claimed. Derek Penman, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, spoke out after opposition MSPs argued the loss of key staff had left the force in “chaos”.  But he stressed allegations about the conduct of senior officers must be “robustly and independently investigated” for public confidence to be maintained. Scotland’s top police officer, Chief Constable Phil Gormley was placed on “special leave” in September while allegations of gross misconduct are probed by the independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).


Britain will no longer be a member of the European police agency Europol after it leaves the European Union, the European Commission’s chief negotiator has said. Speaking at a security conference in Berlin Michel Barnier accused the UK abandoning the defence of Europe at a time when it should be standing “shoulder to shoulder” with its neighbours in the EU. The UK government said as recently as September that it wants to remain inside Europol and retain other EU security benefits such as the European Arrest Warrant and shared criminal databases.



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