Senior Cop Cleared Of Misconduct

13 May 2018, 12:17 | Updated: 13 May 2018, 12:18

Bernard Higgins

One of Scotland's top police officers has been cleared of misconduct allegations but faces a further wait to find out if he will be subject to criminal proceedings.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins, who denies all allegations against him, returned to work in March while the watchdog investigations were still ongoing.

He had been suspended from duty by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) in November after a number of allegations were made.

Now, the SPA has confirmed that the decision there was no case to answer regarding the misconduct allegations against Mr Higgins was made following a committee meeting last month.

A spokeswoman said: "The SPA's Complaints and Conduct Committee met on April 24 to consider allegations made against a senior Police Scotland officer.

"The committee's consideration was informed by an independent report by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) in relation to these allegations.

"The committee determined that the senior officer had no case to answer in respect of either misconduct or gross misconduct and will take no further action in respect of these allegations."

She said the committee did not consider allegations against Mr Higgins which are currently under consideration by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

She added: "The committee will consider these allegations once a decision has been made by COPFS."

Pirc sent reports to both the SPA and COPFS in March regarding Mr Higgins, the former on misconduct allegations and the latter on criminal allegations.

A Crown Office spokesman said the report is still being considered.

He said: "Pirc has submitted a report to COPFS concerning allegations against five officers who were serving with Police Scotland.

"The report remains under consideration."

A Pirc spokesman said: "Reports were submitted in March to the COPFS, in relation to allegations of criminality against Police Scotland officers, and to the SPA, in respect of misconduct allegations about a senior officer, for their consideration of any appropriate action.