Former health minister Susan Deacon named police watchdog chair
Former Labour health minister Susan Deacon has taken charge at Scotland’s police watchdog. Deacon is the new chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and is taking over the post at a time when Police Scotland is in turmoil. 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). Meanwhile, in November Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins was suspended by SPA watchdogs after “a number of criminal and misconduct allegations”. Higgins, who was the head of armed policing in Scotland, and Mr Gormley deny any wrongdoing.
Police watchdog boss insists coppers not in crisis amid string of officer suspensions
The new chairwoman of Scotland’s police watchdog has said she takes issue with the notion that the country’s police service is in crisis. Ex-Labour health minister Susan Deacon takes up the post at the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) today. Her appointment comes at a troubled time for Police Scotland. Chief Constable Phil Gormley was placed on “special leave” in September as allegations of bullying are probed.
New police watchdog chief denies force is in crisis
The new chairwoman of Scotland’s police watchdog has said she takes issue with the notion that the country’s police service is in crisis. Former Labour health minister Susan Deacon takes up the post at the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) today and said there are challenges ahead to make the organisation one that people can have trust and confidence in. Her appointment comes at a troubled time for Police Scotland, which has been hit by the loss of some of its most senior officers in recent months. Scotland’s top police officer, Chief Constable Phil Gormley, was placed on “special leave” in September as allegations of gross misconduct are investigated.
Police watchdogs need an extra £1m
The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) has seen its caseload jump by a third in the last year and is dealing with nearly twice as many probes than when it was established in 2013. PIRC, led by commissioner Kate Frame, independently investigate incidents involving the police and is at the centre of a number of controversies engulfing Scotland’s national force, from the M9 crash to the bullying allegations facing current chief constable Phil Gormley. The public body saw its workload increase even further last week with the launch of an investigation into allegations of criminality which resulted in the suspension of assistant chief constable Bernard Higgins and three other officers. PIRC was handed £455,000 extra cash last year and it is expected a similar sum will need to be found in this month’s Scottish budget.
Scots cop watchdogs want cash injection as workload has almost doubled in three years
Cop watchdogs want a cash injection as their workload has almost doubled in three years. The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner handled 32 probes last year compared to 17 in 2013/14. And bosses fear inquiries into allegations of bullying and misconduct by top brass will require a major funding boost from the Scottish Government. A PIRC spokesman said: “The rise in investigations has substantially increased the demands on our resources. “The Commissioner is keeping the Government informed of this and is in consultation to seek a funding increase.”
Stop interfering, police chief tells politicians
The acting head of Scotland’s police force has called for less political meddling in his work.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said officers found their roles more difficult to perform when policing was “moved around as a political issue”. Mr Livingstone, 50, postponed retirement to take over Police Scotland in September while allegations of gross misconduct against Chief Constable Phil Gormley were investigated, and the force has since lost some of its most senior officers.
Mandy Rhodes: Whatever is going on at the top, police cuts threaten the real crisis
While their courage was being saluted at the Scottish Police Federation Bravery Awards in an Edinburgh hotel last week, just 24 hours earlier, politicians in the neighbouring Scottish Parliament had been arguing about whether their service was in crisis. For these courageous men and women, whose impressive roll call of public service that had gone way beyond the call of duty to save lives, disarm assailants and talk people down from attempts at their own life, the question was: “Crisis, what crisis?” But while police officers up and down the country get on with the job, the question marks hanging over the leadership of Police Scotland persist.
How Scotland reduced knife deaths among young people
In 2005, Strathclyde police set up a violence reduction unit (VRU) in an effort to address a problem that had made Glasgow, in particular, notorious. Later that year, a United Nations report illustrated why that strategy was so urgent. The study concluded that Scotland was the most violent country in the developed world. Based on telephone interviews with crime victims conducted between 1991 and 2000, it found that excluding murder, Scots were almost three times as likely to be assaulted as Americans and 30 times more likely than the Japanese. The VRU, which is directly funded by the Scottish government and has an arms-length relationship with Police Scotland, was later rolled out across Scotland. It has adopted a public health approach to knife crime, in which the police work with those in the health, education and social work sectors to address the problem. The results so far have been dramatic.
Scottish Police Authority chair who quit after bullying row received £18,000 in fees
A police boss who quit his post after being accused of bullying has received nearly £18,000 in fees since announcing his resignation. Andrew Flanagan, whose last day as Scottish Police Authority chair was on Friday, pocketed around £450 a day after the Government took months to find a replacement. Moi Ali, a former SPA board member, called on Flanagan to donate the money to charity. The SPA was set up to oversee Police Scotland, but the body has been fiercely criticised over its performance and attitude towards openness.
Cops from throughout Scotland awarded for bravery
Six police officers who worked to free two girls from an overturned car in a flooded river have been honoured for their bravery. They pulled the 12 and 14-year-olds from the vehicle in Aberdeenshire in December 2016 – though the elder child later died in hospital.
They were among 23 officers recognised by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh. The awards are for acts of bravery by police officers both on and off-duty.
New police chief Alan Speirs was in charge of ‘M9 tragedy’ control rooms
One of the new assistant chief constables at crisis-hit Police Scotland had responsibility for control rooms at the time of the infamous M9 tragedy. The incident saw police fail to follow up reports of a car accident which led to woman lying injured in her vehicle for nearly three days before she died. Alan Speirs, who will enjoy a near £34,000 pay rise following his promotion, was the commander of the national division which failed to respond to the fatal car crash in July 2015 for three days. Speirs’ pay rise in nearly £10,000 more than the average annual wage in the UK.
Motorists face 20mph speed blitz
Motorists are facing a speeding crackdown with 20mph limits set to be imposed in built-up areas. The new law is expected to be forced through next year as one of the most substantial changes to Scotland’s roads system in years.