5 January 2018
Police Scotland assistant chief constable faces new misconduct investigation
A senior Scottish police officer already suspended over allegations of criminal behaviour is now also being investigated for gross misconduct, it has been announced. The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (Pirc) was already probing the criminal allegations against Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins, who was suspended in November. It said had now assessed other allegations, which were made anonymously in October last year, and concluded they would amount to misconduct and gross misconduct if proven. The commissioner said ACC Higgins was served with a notice of investigation on Thursday and informed that he is the subject of a misconduct probe. However, his lawyers issued a statement saying it contained no new allegations and he “strenuously denies any misconduct.”
Scottish police to be trained to spot new domestic abuse offence
Around 14,000 Police Scotland officers are to receive specialist training in preparation for a new domestic abuse crime coming into force in Scotland, which is believed to be unique in law internationally. The training will help officers spot seemingly innocuous actions which are in fact part of a cycle of psychological abuse or coercive control. Although an offence of coercive control was introduced in England in 2015, the Scottish legislation takes a unique approach which has been hailed as offering “victimless prosecution”. It reflects a growing understanding that domestic abuse is often a course of behaviour that extends over a period of time and includes not only physical violence.
Watchdog slams Scottish Police Authority’s complaints procedure
A police watchdog has released a damning report on the Scottish Police Authority’s complaints handling system. The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) examined how complaints against senior police officers, SPA staff and its board were dealt with. The audit questioned the number of complaints which were investigated. The new chairwoman of the SPA, Susan Deacon, acknowledged the complaints system needed to be “robust”. The report – which covers the period between April 2015 and March 2017 – also found a lack of transparency on decisions made and criticised the length of the process. It did not include recent allegations made against high ranking officers within Police Scotland.
Police Scotland’s Bernard Higgins faces misconduct investigation
Police Scotland’s trouble at the top continued yesterday after yet more investigators decided there was merit in making one of the suspended senior officers the subject of a formal misconduct investigation. Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins was suspended in November by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) after “a number of criminal and misconduct allegations’’. The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (Pirc) has now confirmed after looking at the complaints that they merit investigation. The precise nature of the misconduct and gross misconduct allegations against the officer have not been disclosed.
England: Police forces ‘breaching rights’ of menstruating women in custody
Police forces in England and Wales have been accused of breaching human rights standards by continuing to fail to meet the needs of menstruating women detained in police custody. An independent legal opinion by Doughty Street Chambers barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Angela Patrick warns police are likely breaching the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. In some circumstances, they say that leaving women and girls without access to a pad or tampon in custody may amount to degrading treatment under international human rights law. The barristers recommend that, to avoid litigation, Home Secretary Amber Rudd should conduct “a full review of the current national policy and practice on detention, women and their periods” and to “make express provision for the treatment of menstruating women as a group requiring special provision to be made for their detention”.
Meet the new Area Commander
Chief Inspector Mark Leonard has been appointed as the new Area Commander for local policing in Motherwell, Bellshill, Wishaw and Shotts. The former Holy Cross High pupil left school and joined the Royal Air Force as an Aerospace Systems Operator, serving across the UK, The Falklands and Cyprus. On leaving the RAF, Mark joined Grampian Police in 1995 where he worked in Aberdeen and Peterhead. In 2000 he transferred to Strathclyde working in the likes of Cumbernauld, Wishaw, Rutherglen, Blantyre and Hamilton across a variety of roles including local policing, proactive and reactive investigations and licensing.