16th March 2018

Perth Police HQ - by Ninian Reid via Flickr

Police watchdog accused of ‘gross misuse’ of public money over redundancy deals

A former chief executive of Scotland’s police watchdog personally signed off on a £165,000 “golden handshake” deal for a senior executive who had been arrested for domestic abuse just weeks previously, an employment tribunal has heard. Four senior figures at the Scottish Police Authority, the body responsible for oversight of Police Scotland, received a total of more than £350,000 they were not entitled to, the tribunal was told. Amy McDonald, a former director of financial accountability at the organisation, said there was “significant wrongdoing” and “gross misuse of public resources” at the authority, which helps set the single force’s annual £1bn budget.


Cop exec handed £165,000 pay-off as ‘golden goodbye’ after domestic violence arrest

A TOP police exec was given a £165,000 pay-off a month after she was arrested for domestic violence, it’s been claimed. The unnamed Scottish Police Authority chief was allegedly given a “golden goodbye” signed-off by a controversial former boss. A tribunal heard the eye-watering payout was one of four worth almost £400,000 flagged-up by former director of financial responsibility Amy McDonald, who claims she was sidelined after blowing the whistle. Mrs McDonald, 44, said: “That an employee was given a £165,000 golden handshake under those circumstances is worthy of investigation by Audit Scotland.”


Police Scotland fail to explain months of delays during illegal spying probe

A PROBE into an illegal spying operation linked to the unsolved murder of prostitute Emma Caldwell was held up for months over unexplained legal wrangling. Police Scotland was unable to explain why emails between senior officers took three months to release, while contact details for retired officers were not handed to investigators for two months. MSPs branded some of the hold-ups “absolutely staggering” as they quizzed senior police figures during a Holyrood committee. They also blasted the force’s “overly secretive approach”, which led to heavily redacted reports which attempted to obscure information that was already in the public domain.


MSPs vote to repeal football bigotry law

MSPs have voted to repeal Scotland’s Offensive Behaviour at Football Act. The legislation was passed by the then-majority SNP government in 2011 in a bid to crack down on sectarianism. But all four opposition parties argued for it to be scrapped, saying it unfairly targets football fans and has failed to tackle the problem. Ministers argued the move was “foolhardy” but were outvoted by 62 to 60, meaning the Football Act will be taken off the statute book in April. The legislation has deeply divided opinion from the start, with those who support it saying it was needed to fight the scourge of sectarianism within Scottish football.


Pilot campaign to tackle underage drinking in North Lanarkshire successful

A campaign piloted in North Lanarkshire to tackle the issue of proxy purchasing of alcohol is set to be rolled out to other areas. The award-winning “You’re Asking For It” initiative was launched in Monklands last summer, and resulted in a halving of reports of children drinking on the streets of the authority area, and a 10 per cent reduction in youth disorder incidents. Now an online resource has been developed to help other councils across Scotland implement the scheme, comprising advice, case studies and evaluations from the North Lanarkshire pilot. It was launched at a special event attended by police, retailers, health workers and alcohol producers.


Police apologise to officers ‘failed’ by corruption probe

One of Scotland’s most senior police officers has admitted the force failed four colleagues at the centre of a probe into illegal surveillance. Deputy chief constable Rose Fitzpatrick said she continued to offer her “wholehearted” apology to the serving and retired officers who were targeted by Police Scotland’s Counter Corruption Unit (CCU). However, she defended the force’s handling of an independent investigation into the CCU carried out by Durham Constabulary.


Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland ready for chemical weapons attack

Nicola Sturgeon has declared Scotland ready to deal with a future chemical weapons incident in the aftermath of the Salisbury attack. The SNP leader branded the nerve attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal a “gravely serious issue” at First Ministers Questions today, but said emergency services were prepared for a similar incident on the streets of Scotland. The First Minister said: “Scotland’s preparedness to successfully respond to attacks of this nature – chemical biological, radiological attacks – have been developed over a number of years. “In relation to the type of incident encountered in Salisbury, our excellent emergency services would be in a position to respond to the initial incident.


Rangers and Celtic fork out £500k to police Old Firm games

Police Scotland have raked in an astonishing half a million pounds on policing Old Firm games in the last two years. Between April 17, 2016 to December, 30 2017, Rangers, Celtic, the SFA and SPFl shelled out a total of £555,568.80 to keep fans safe inside Ibrox and Parkhead when the two teams clash. During this period, Rangers spent £206,796.00 on officers for three matches, while Celtic spent £168,194.00, despite Parkhead having a bigger capacity. The figures, released in a Freedom Of Information request by the Daily Record, do not include the money spent from the public purse by Police Scotland on deploying officers outside stadiums.


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