No Suspension For Police Chief During Investigation

27 July 2017, 17:40

The new man in charge of Police Scotland

Scotland's chief constable will not be suspended from his role while an investigation into allegations of gross misconduct takes place.

The police oversight body has ruled that temporarily removing Phil Gormley from the post is ''not appropriate''.

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) also said the outcome of the investigation by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) should be made public in due course.

No information has been given regarding the nature of the complaint, but if a serious breach of standards is found, Mr Gormley could face dismissal.

The SPA board met on Thursday to consider whether any measures such as a suspension were necessary.

Deputy chair Nicola Marchant said: ''At this stage, and having carefully considered and balanced the various investigatory and public interest criteria within the regulations, the SPA takes the view that a suspension is not appropriate.

''As with any process of this nature, that is an issue we will keep under review.

''While complaints and conduct issues relating to senior officers are handled within a clear set of guidelines and procedures, the circumstances behind each case are different and so, therefore, should any consideration of whether a period of suspension is appropriate.

''We welcome the public commitment by the chief constable that he will co-operate fully with the Pirc and provide all necessary assistance.

''This sends a clear signal of intent and we have no doubts that this is also the full expectation of the Pirc investigators.''

She added: ''While we recognise the visibility and keen interest that comes with any allegation relating to an individual of this seniority, it is important for all those involved for the investigative process to be allowed to progress with diligence, proportionality and confidentiality.

''In due course, and subject to appropriate dialogue with the parties at the time, SPA would take the view that it is in the public interest that there should then be a public communication on the outcomes of this process.''

The decision followed a call from Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie for Mr Gormley to seek a leave of absence while Pirc looks into the allegations.

Other political parties including Labour, the Conservatives and the Greens called for the investigation to be as transparent as possible.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Liam Kerr said: ''It's now essential that the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner is allowed to fully look into this matter and that there is full transparency as to what exactly has happened in this incident.''

The chief constable said: ''I am co-operating fully with the Pirc and will provide all necessary assistance to bring this matter to a timely and satisfactory conclusion.

''In fairness to others who may be involved, it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this time.

''I would like to stress that I remain focused on leading Police Scotland, ensuring that we continue to serve and protect the people of this country.''