SPA block files release on sex case cop who wants top job. DOCUMENTS detailing new, and serious complaints against a senior cop previously linked to a case involving five allegations of sexual assault, and now, fresh details of an additional ‘interaction with another officer’, are being kept secret by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).
The secrecy move by the Scottish Police Authority, under their new chair of ex MSP & former Health Minister Susan Deacon – comes as three senior Police officers – including current Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone – submitted their applications to be considered for the £216,549 a year role as Chief Constable of Police Scotland.
Material in relation to new complaints made against DCC Iain Livingstone was sought from the Scottish Police Authority in February of this year, after information was received with regards to further serious complaints made against Police Scotland’s current ‘interim’ Chief Constable.
However, the SPA under Susan Deacon deliberately delayed releasing their response to the Freedom of Information request – by a number of months, as members of the Scottish Police Federation and Scottish Government ministers bolstered DCC Livingstone’s position as front runner for the top job – despite the grim details of a case involving 5 allegations of serious sexual assault which were dismissed by a tribunal composed of Livingstone’s male cop colleagues.
The Scottish Police Authority were asked to provide details of :
The numbers of complaints, subject of complaints, and identities (not name, but by rank, status as Police Officer, civilian employee, member of the public or other)
Who have made complaints (and the numbers of complaints) against current DCC Iain Livingstone from 1 April 2013 to the date of this FOI request
The status, and outcomes of these complaints.
It should be noted Information in relation to a number of these complaints, has recently been shared with MSPs, and the media.
However, and some time after discussions over the Freedom of Information request had taken place, inside & outside the SPA – the Scottish Police Authority responded to the FOI request four months late, in early June – denying access to all of the information sought in relation to DCC Livingstone.
In their response, issued months late and outwith Freedom of Information timescales, the Scottish Police Authority wrongly claimed the material sought was “personal data of a third party” in a concerted attempt to conceal further details of complaints against DCC Livingstone from the public.
The Scottish Police Authority stated in it’s letter of response, dated 8 June 201:
The SPA considers that this request constitutes personal data of a third party and is, therefore, exempt in terms of Section 38 (1)(b) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
Furthermore this information is exempt under Section 34 (3)(a) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 – Investigations by Scottish public authorities and proceedings arising out of such investigations.
Both are absolute exemptions and as such no public interest test has been applied.
A request for review has been lodged, and material also sent to the Scottish Information Commissioner with regards to the SPA’s refusal to disclose the information.
The Scottish Police Authority’s eagerness to conceal information in relation to a senior Police Officer – who has been previously accused of 5 allegations of serious sexual assault, and has faced further complaints including an ‘interaction’ with another officer – raises questions about the impartiality of the recruitment round to appoint a new Chief Constable to Scotland’s crisis hit single Police service.
With reference to the five allegations of serious sexual assault, Iain Livingstone was cleared of sexual impropriety or intent – by a tribunal headed by a male top cop colleague – Assistant Chief Constable John McLean.
The former lawyer and Raith Rovers footballer had been suspended for 17 months after the WPC claimed she had been sexually assaulted during the party.
A qualified lawyer and member of the Law society of Scotland, Mr Livingstone switched careers in 1992, joining Lothian and Borders Police.
In just 10 years, Livingstone – who had also once played for Raith Rovers – had clearly been fast tracked, reaching the rank of superintendent.
At the time of the allegations and ‘internal’ investigation by his Police colleagues, Livingstone was not prosecuted by the Crown Office over the claims.
Instead, Livingstone admitted a less serious allegation about being in the woman’s room overnight and falling asleep.
It should be noted that during the time of the investigation & tribunal, handled by Police, the Lord Advocate was Colin Boyd, Baron Boyd of Duncansby – now a judge in the Court of Session, and the Solicitor General was Elish Angiolini – recently appointed by Nicola Sturgeon a Scottish Minister to investigate how complaints are handled against Police in Scotland.
Asked about the sexual assault allegations during a recent BBC Scotland documentary, DCC Iain Livingstone said he “fell asleep in the wrong place and that was all”.
Although he admitted that he ‘shouldn’t have done that’, he insisted that he still has the right attributes for the job.
During the documentary, A Force In Crisis, investigative journalist Sam Poling asked Mr Livingstone about the ‘allegations of sexual assault’ and about him being ‘bumped down from superintendent to constable and suspended’.
Mr Livingstone said: “There was a set of circumstances in 2000 whereby at a social event at Tulliallan, at a training event I had too much to drink.”
Livingstone said in the programme: “I fell asleep in the wrong place and that was all and I shouldn’t have done that, and clearly I accept that.
‘I was suspended, I spent time off work. There was a hearing convened where I did accept I fell asleep.I was cleared of any sexual impropriety.
‘I was cleared of any level of sexual intent and at that hearing, initially, I was then demoted from superintendent to constable. I immediately appealed against that and I was reinstated.”
Politicians also questioned his suitability for the job after his response to the claims in a BBC documentary this week – saying only that he ‘fell asleep in the wrong place and that was all’.
One MSP said: ‘I was quite concerned by how he came across. It raises more questions about what happened and his fitness for the role.’
However, Livingstone’s application for the top job – which appears to be backed by Scottish Ministers, and the Scottish Police Federation has been called into question after a former Assistant Chief Constable said Livingstone should not get the top job.
Ex top cop speaks out on sex case linked DCC Iain Livingstone’s quest to be Chief Constable:
In an article in the Daily Mail newspaper, Angela Wilson, ex-Assistant Chief Constable at Police Scotland said DCC Iain Livingstone should not get the job after his humiliating confession about his past.
Angela Wilson believes the allegations should disqualify Iain Livingstone from leading the force.
Miss Wilson – now chairman of the Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in Dundee said: “I feel uncomfortable with the head of Scottish policing having an allegation of this nature in his past. We deserve a leader who does not have an issue like this in their background.”
“The police should be above the kind of thing revealed by the BBC programme. We should be the most honest people in society.”
“As far as I understand this case, it was one person’s world against another’s.”
“The police must have taken it very seriously to initially reduce him in rank after finding him guilty of a disciplinary offence.”
“People are much more aware that inappropriate workplace behaviour will not be tolerated. To have a Chief Constable of Police Scotland with something like this in his past is not good.”
“Some might say it was many years ago, but it doesn’t matter because other people in society have been held to account for historic misconduct and they are in much less important positions.”
“His explanation was one I did not feel comfortable with.”
COPS TURN ON THEIR OWN: Scottish Police Federation boss launches twitter attack on ex colleague:
Following the comments from ex ACC Wilson, Calum Steele, the leader of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF), launched attacks on his female former colleague on the twitter social media platform.
The Sunday Mail reported that Calum Steele – a Police Constable with an honorary rank as Chief Inspector due to his Police Federation duties – also branded ex ACC Wilson “useless” and a “buffoon” and wrongly claimed in tweets that a corruption inquiry in her former force Tayside “extended” to her.
Steele is general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) who have 18,500 members and represent 98 per cent of police officers.
Steele posted a string of six tweets last week after Wilson spoke out on the prospect of DCC Iain Livingstone gaining the top job as Chief Constable of Police Scotland.
The first of Calum Steele’s tweets said she was “one of the most incompetent imbeciles ever to have held rank in the police service”.
It claimed she was continuing “a smear on one of the very best”, adding: “You really need to ask – who is driving this?”
He went on to say that Wilson had served in Thames Valley Police as did Claire Gormley, the wife of Phil Gormley who quit as head of Police Scotland in February following bullying allegations against him.
Steele added: “AW [Angela Wilson] and the Gormleys have an axe to grind. It’s frankly pathetic.”
He also described Livingstone as “one of the most talented, able, skilled and resilient police officers”.
Scottish Tories justice spokesman Liam Kerr said: “Mr Steele has a position of responsibility and should probably have thought more carefully before embarking on this chain of tweets.
“The result of this is now a potential legal case which will drag the force and its associated bodies through the mud at a time it never needed it less.”
Angela Wilson subsequently lodged a formal complaint with Police Scotland and the SPF.
It was then reported in the Sunday Mail newspaper that – as a result of the complaint raised by ex ACC Wilson, Constable Calum Steele was found guilty of posting “inappropriate and offensive” online comments about a female ex-police chief.
Upholding the complaint, Chief Inspector Jacqui Campbell, of the Professional Standards Department (PSD), ruled the comments were “inappropriate and offensive” and that Wilson was “never investigated for corruption”.
Steele claimed to be off duty when he launched the Twitter tirade on May 3 but the Professional Standards Department probe discovered that he was working.
Campbell said: “The record revealed Constable Steele’s duty for that date was 0900 to 1700 hours, therefore, at the time the tweets were posted he was on duty.”
Campbell has issued Wilson a “sincere apology for the undoubted upset Constable Steele’s actions have caused”.
But Steele – who heads the federation representing 98 per cent of Police Scotland officers – “makes no apology” and refuses to delete the messages.
Campbell said: “We have asked Constable Steele to remove the relevant tweets from his Twitter account. Unfortunately, it is his own personal Twitter account and, as such, we are unable to order him to remove or delete them.”
Despite Steele’s messages being from a personal account, Campbell found “they are directly related to his role as a police officer and particularly his role as general secretary” of the SPF.
Mr Livingstone has been regarded as the favourite to replace Phil Gormley, who quit in February after being accused of bullying by colleagues.
Following Gormley’s leave of absence last year, a campaign of suspensions, bitter infighting dubbed ‘backstabbing cops’ in the media, and now scrapped criminal investigations into colleagues of the ousted Chief Constable then took place over a number of months – setting the stage for DCC Livingstone to conveniently scrap his retirement plans, and campaign, along with vested interests in the Scottish Police Federation to replace the ousted Chief Constable.
Steele, who spoke to PSD officers through a lawyer, now faces a further hearing which may result in disciplinary action. His lawyer quoted a dictionary definition of “imbeciles” as meaning “a fool” and that it was “a fair and honest comment that represents Constable Steele’s honestly-held belief”.
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Liam Kerr said: “Calum Steele should really back down, apologise and delete the offending tweets. Otherwise this row will rumble on.”
Chief Superintendent Mark Hargreaves, head of the Professional Standards Department, said: “The investigation into this complaint has concluded and as this is an internal matter it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
THE MSP & SEX CASE TOP COP: Ex cop MSP failed to declare link to sex case cop Livingstone:
In an earlier report in the Sunday Mail newspaper, it was also revealed that while DCC Iain Livingstone was giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee in January, Justice Committee member & former police officer John Finnie had failed to tell fellow MSPs he had represented Iain Livingstone when he was cleared of sexual misconduct.
At Holyrood’s justice committee in January, John Finnie quizzed Livingstone about staffing levels and said losing chief officers was one of the benefits of creating a single police force.
Scottish Labour justice spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “John is a valued colleague on the justice committee but I am alarmed that he did not see fit to declare this link with the acting chief constable.
“Police Scotland are in desperate need of scrutiny – and the public will expect such scrutiny to be conducted professionally.
“I would urge him to correct the record and to ensure he declares interests fully and promptly in future.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives added: “He also owes parliament an explanation as to why he neglected to mention this very important link.”
Finnie spent 14 years as an official for the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) – the organisation who represent police officers up to the rank of chief inspector.
SCOTLAND’S NEXT TOP COP:
There are three shortlisted candidates for the Chief Constable role at Police Scotland.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, whose past & current complaints records are being kept secret by the Scottish Police Authority, and Police Scotland.
A second candidate – Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Johnny Gwynne – a former head of the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) Child Exploitation and Online Protection command – has also applied for the job.
Gwynne, a former Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officer also previously held the post of former deputy director-general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency – which was absorbed into Police Scotland in 2014.
The third candidate is Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Bill Skelly, who joined Devon and Cornwall Police from Police Scotland as Deputy Chief Constable in 2013 and was appointed as chief Constable of the force last year.
The shortlisted candidates will undergo a selection process including two panel interviews, chaired by the Scottish Police Authority’s own boss Susan Deacon.
And the selection panel will also include SPA board member Mary Pitcaithly, NHS Scotland chief executive Paul Gray, Professor Lorne Crerar, – chairman of legal firm Harper MacLeod; and National Crime Agency Director General Lynne Owens.
Gill Imery – the current Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland will also act as an ‘advisor’ to the team.
According to the job information pack: “Shortlisted candidates will be invited to participate in a psychometric and personality profile exercise, an Assessment Centre, and an interview with the Selection Panel.”The assessment centre will include a scenario exercise and a mock media interview.
Final interviews of the three candidates are expected to take place on 13 and 14 August.
A report on the allegations of sexual assault against Iain Livingstone by a female Police Officer, allegations which were dismissed by a tribunal headed by male Police Officer colleagues of Livingstone was reported earlier by DOI here: TOP COP SECRETS: Transparency lacking at Police Scotland as spy scandal cops refuse to disclose files on complaints & historical sexual assault case details involving Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone