11th Jan 2018

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr


Michael Matheson has met demands to ‘get a grip’ of Scottish Police Authority – to criticise him would be the worst kind of political opportunism

Time and time again the Scottish Tories have demanded that Justice Secretary Michael Matheson should intervene over the Scottish Police Authority. A quick internet search reveals Ruth Davidson urged him to “get a grip” and called for “rapid intervention”.



Justice Secretary Michael Matheson defiant against rivals who blasted him for scuppering plot to get ‘bully’ cop back to work

Defiant Michael Matheson yesterday savaged rivals who blasted him for scuppering a secret plot to reinstate top cop Phil Gormley. The Justice Minister defended vetoing the Scottish Police Authority’s sneaky bid to bring back the chief constable from gardening leave — despite three ongoing bullying probes.  He confirmed The Scottish Sun’s revelations yesterday that he was kept in the dark about the move for two days — until the eve of Mr Gormley’s planned return on November 10.


Police Scotland crisis worsens as Michael Matheson turns on force watchdog The crisis engulfing Scotland’s single police service escalated last night as the justice secretary turned on the force watchdog for attempting to reinstate the nation’s most senior officer.


Leader comment: The importance of due process in Chief Constable saga

When Police Scotland was set up following the merger of eight regional forces, one of the main fears was that it would be at much greater risk of political interference. The argument went that eight were better able to resist such pressures than just one. This concern was part of the reason behind the creation of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), which was designed to hold the Chief Constable to account while keeping our elected representatives at arm’s length.


Row between Government and top officers drags Scotland’s police force further into crisis

Scotland’s police force were dragged further into crisis last night in a damaging row involving the Government and top officers.  In Holyrood, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson was forced to defend a decision to step in and confront shambolic behaviour at the Scottish Police Authority.  It emerged that the watchdogs had tried to bring chief constable Phil Gormley back to work while misconduct allegations against him were being probed.  But SPA members failed to tell Matheson, the independence Police Investigations Review Commissioner or stand-in chief Iain Livingston.


Families of Sheku Bayoh and M9 crash victims still waiting for FAIs

Families of a man who died in police custody and a couple who died after a crash on the M9 are still waiting for dates to be set for fatal accident inquiries because a decision has yet to be taken on whether there will be criminal proceedings. Sheku Bayoh, 31, died after being restrained by officers in Kirkcaldy, Fife, in May 2015. John Yuill, 28, and Lamara Bell, 25, lay undiscovered for three days after their car veered off the M9 in Stirling two months later, despite a sighting of their wrecked car being reported to police.


Minister criticises police board over chief constable row

Scotland‘s justice secretary has criticised the Scottish Police Authority over its attempt to bring the chief constable back to work. Phil Gormley is currently on special leave while allegations of gross misconduct are investigated.  His lawyers accused Michael Matheson of to stop him coming back to work.  But Mr Matheson told MSPs that he had simply questioned “clear deficiencies” in the decision-making process.


Minister Michael Matheson attacks Police Scotland watchdog

Scotland’s troubled police watchdog has been thrust into the centre of a new controversy after the justice secretary in effect accused the organisation of incompetence. Michael Matheson made a staunch defence to MSPs about why he had felt compelled to step in and try to prevent Phil Gormley, the embattled chief constable, from returning to work.  Speaking in parliament, Mr Matheson admitted he had intervened to query the decision by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the supervisory body for Police Scotland, to invite Mr Gormley to return to work in November last year.


It’s time to end the police shambles…and the secrecy

The latest unedifying chapter in what must surely rank as one of the most ill-starred public sector sagas ever witnessed in these islands unfolded at Holyrood yesterday.  What should have produced a leaner, sharper, more efficient national police force through the amalgamation of the eight previous constabularies has turned into nothing short of a shambles.  It’s difficult to know where to pin the most blame but let’s start with a team of ministers who were, as Clement Attlee would have said, “not up the job”, aided and abetted by a lacklustre Civil Service that did what it was told rather than what was best for Scotland, and all overseen by a parliament whose forensic powers, even after nearly 20 years of existence, are still woefully lacking.


Michael Matheson hits out at Scottish Police Authority

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has said he could not back the return to duty of Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley because there were “clear deficiencies” in the process followed by the Scottish Police Authority when it gave the go-ahead. Matheson told MSPs that he informed the body that he could not have confidence in the decision when it had been made “without significant issues having been properly addressed”. Gormley has been on special leave since September while misconduct allegations against him are investigated. His lawyers, in a letter released by Holyrood’s Justice Committee, earlier this week, claimed Matheson had made an “unlawful” intervention.



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