19th Jan 2018

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr

Police plan to take over former Rutherglen courthouse

Rutherglen Police Station could be set for an expansion less than a year after it was under threat of closure. Police Scotland is seeking planning permission to take over the old court house neighbouring the King Street property. An application for a change of use, which includes internal and external alterations to the property, was submitted to South Lanarkshire Council in December. It currently contains five offices, a large court room, a number of toilets, kitchen and store room. But the force is remaining tight-lipped about its plans for the building, which sits on a 0.5-hecatre site, stating plans were “at an early stage”.



THERE seems to be no end to the political chaos effecting Police Scotland. Even the number of players involved is becoming mesmerising; the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) board, the SPA’s former chairman, the SPA’s communications director, the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner , the Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable, Justice Secretary, senior civil servant and now the ex-Justice Secretary who could, in the circumstances, be considered the sorcerer’s apprentice who couldn’t control what he started.


NICOLA Sturgeon has mounted her most robust defence yet of her Justice Secretary in the row over Police Scotland after Ruth Davidson claimed he may have broken the law. The Scottish Tory leader said Michael Matheson may have exceeded his powers when he intervened in a decision of the force’s oversight body, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA). However, linking her own fate to his, the First Minister insisted Mr Matheson had acted “entirely appropriately” and in a way she would have expected of a minister.


THE sense of crisis enveloping Police Scotland has deepened, after more misconduct allegations were levelled at one of its most senior officers. The Police and Investigations Review Commissioner (Pirc) confirmed it was examining two fresh complaints against Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins. The Pirc is already conducting two investigations into ACC Higgins, who was suspended in November, and denies any wrongdoing. The existing investigations concern allegations of misconduct and criminality, including using a police firing range for unauthorised purposes, while the new allegations involve misconduct and gross misconduct.


A senior police officer is facing two further complaints about his conduct. The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner said that the complaints had been made about an assistant chief constable, later identified as Bernard Higgins. Mr Higgins is already on suspension, having been removed from his post, while two other inquiries are completed. One concerns criminal allegations and the other misconduct. The new complaints were made anonymously last December and referred to the Scottish Police Authority. A spokesman for Mr Higgins said: “ACC Higgins has been the subject of a campaign of malicious anonymous complaints for many years. All of the anonymous complaints have been investigated and have found to be without merit. ACC Higgins has already provided a full response and denies any wrongdoing.”


NICOLA Sturgeon has been accused of presiding over a “secret Scotland” amid claims her Justice Secretary may have acted unlawfully in blocking police Chief Phil Gormley’s return to work. The First Minister was today forced to defend Michael Matheson in the deepening row over accusations he interfered in a watchdog’s decision over whether Police Scotland’s Chief Constable could resume his duties. Mr Gormley remains on special leave while allegations of bullying against him, which he denies, are investigated.


Ex-police authority boss to keep £57,000 golden handshake

The former chief executive of the Scottish Police Authority is to keep a controversial £57,000 golden handshake payment, it has emerged. The former chief executive of the Scottish Police Authority is to keep a controversial £57,000 golden handshake payment, it has emerged. The SPA was heavily criticised in December when it published details of John Foley’s exit package, which is made up of an early retirement payment of £43,470 and payment in lieu of notice (Pilon) of £56,666.


Second meeting on Police Scotland chief ‘also unminuted’

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of presiding over a “secret Scotland”, as it emerged no minutes were taken at another crucial meeting on the future of the nation’s top police officer. No detailed record was taken of the meeting in Edinburgh between senior civil servant Paul Johnston and Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley on 30 November. “This fiasco exposes the SNP’s secret Scotland, and it stinks” Ruth Davidson Mr Gormley has been on special leave since September over bullying allegations, which if upheld could see him sacked as the head of the national force.


Davidson: Justice secretary may have acted ‘unlawfully’

The justice secretary may have acted “unlawfully” during his involvement in the chief constable’s period of special leave from Police Scotland, Ruth Davidson has claimed. The Scottish Conservative leader also accused Michael Matheson of trying to “close down questions” over his role in Phil Gormley’s employment status. Davidson raised the prospect at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday after it emerged last week a previously unknown meeting was held between the minister and the then SPA chairman Andrew Flanagan in November.


Nicola Sturgeon defends justice secretary in police row

Nicola Sturgeon has defended under fire Justice Secretary Michael Matheson over his handling of the leadership crisis at Police Scotland amid claims she is presiding over a “secret Scotland.” The First Minister told MSPs today that Mr Matheson acted “entirely appropriately” when he intervened to question a Scottish Police Authority’s plan which would have seen sidelined Chief Constable Phil Gormley return to duty .


Magic Sturgeon perfects her sleight of hand

Like any magician, Nicola Sturgeon knows it is unwise to introduce a trick before it has been perfected. Happily I can report that her latest illusion is a beezer. The first minister has taken to complaining about questions that the opposition has not asked her. Yesterday she shrugged off Ruth Davidson’s questions about whether Michael Matheson, the justice secretary, had exercised undue influence over the Scottish Police Authority and whether Phil Gormley, the chief constable, should return to work. Ms Sturgeon said that if the justice secretary had not asked the SPA appropriate questions Ms Davidson would be complaining.


‘I want justice for my police chief husband’: Wife of Police Scotland boss launches explosive fightback in bullying row

The wife of Scotland’s Chief Constable has launched an extraordinary attack on Justice Secretary Michael Matheson and the police watchdog as her husband fights for his job amid bullying allegations. In an unprecedented broadside, retired senior police officer Claire Gormley said her husband Phil had been ‘vilified’ in a ‘disproportionate fishing expedition’. Mr Gormley has been on gardening leave since last September amid investigations into multiple bullying claims against him. But Mrs Gormley condemned the ‘half-truths and lack of transparency’ surrounding the controversy, which she said ‘leaves me with little confidence that justice will prevail’.



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