Police Scotland chief quits with immediate effect

7 February 2018, 13:01

The new man in charge of Police Scotland

The chief constable of Police Scotland has resigned with immediate effect in the wake of a series of misconduct allegations against him.

Phil Gormley has been on special leave since September last year amid ongoing investigations into the claims of gross misconduct.

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) confirmed Mr Gormley was leaving with immediate effect after tendering his resignation.

Mr Gormley said: "The last eight months have been difficult for me and my family, in particular I would like to thank my wife for her love and loyalty.

"The events since November 2017 have led me to the conclusion that it is impossible for me to resume my duties in a meaningful way prior to the end of my contract.

"I now need to prioritise the health and well-being of my family on whom these events have taken a significant toll.

"The support of colleagues from across the UK with whom I have served during the last 32 years has been a source of great strength.

"As chief constable of Police Scotland I have had the privilege to meet and work with some exceptional people, I wish them well for the future and it is in their interests that I feel it is right to step aside."

An SPA statement said: "It has become clear to Chief Constable Gormley that irrespective of the outcome of the ongoing investigations he will not be able to resume his operational role in Police Scotland in a meaningful way, and the ongoing disciplinary process may take some time to complete.

"He has therefore decided to step down and end his contract 10 months early in the interests of the office of the Chief Constable and to allow Police Scotland to move forward with their agenda and strategy which he previously set in motion."

Mr Gormley became embroiled in a political row after it emerged that Justice Secretary Michael Matheson had intervened in the decision of the SPA to reinstate him.

In December it emerged the SPA, under former chair Andrew Flanagan, had agreed Mr Gormley's return to duty, drafting a press release in consultation with his lawyers which stated that arrangements had been put in place to support the welfare of officers involved in the probes.

The decision was reversed following an intervention from Mr Matheson, who told parliament key parties had not been consulted and there was a "particular concern" about the impact the chief constable's return could have on those who had made the allegations.

Mr Matheson said he had questioned "clear deficiencies" in the SPA's decision-making process, causing the body to reverse the move.

He was heavily criticised by Mr Gormley's lawyer David Morgan, who said there was "no lawful basis" for the intervention.

The independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) had received five misconduct referrals about the chief constable from the SPA over the past six months.

The latest of the five was announced by investigators last week.

Mr Gormley denied the allegations and had been on special leave from his post since September 2017.

A Pirc spokesman said: "Following the announcement by the Scottish Police Authority that the Chief Constable has tendered his resignation, all misconduct investigations about the Chief Constable being carried out by the Pirc will now come to an end.

"Reports containing the information gathered to date will be submitted to the SPA."

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: "On behalf of everyone at Police Scotland, I would like to thank Phil Gormley for his contribution to policing and wish him and his family well for the future.

"The last few months have been a difficult time for Police Scotland and for many individuals.

"My focus, and that of all officers and staff, will remain on day-to-day policing and serving the people of Scotland as we go forward."