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POLICE UNION SECRETS: Transparency petition by whistle-blower ex Police Officer closed by msps as Scottish Government block move to bring Freedom of Information compliance to Scottish Police Federation

Scots Police Fed. keeps secrets. A PETITION calling for Holyrood to recommend Freedom of Information compliance for the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) – has been closed – after the Scottish Government said it would block transparency compliance for the Union which covers all Police Scotland officers.

Petition PE1763 Freedom of Information Legislation (Scottish Police Federation) – submitted by whistleblower & ex-Police Officer Robert Brown – sought to bring the Scottish Police Federation into line with its counterpart – the Police Federation of England & Wales – which has been covered by Freedom of Information legislation since 2017

Legislation in England & Wales states: Freedom of Information Act etc: Police Federation for England and Wales: The Police Federation for England and Wales is to be treated for the purposes of— (a)10the Freedom of Information Act 2000,(b)the Data Protection Act 1998, and (c)section 18 of the Inquiries Act 2005, as if it were a body listed in Part 5 of Schedule 1 to the 2000 Act (public authorities).

The Police Federation of England & Wales FOI website section states the following: “The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) is funded in part by police officers who pay subscriptions from their wages. We are not funded by the public, and we are the only staff association to be subject to Freedom of Information (FoI), which came into effect for the PFEW in April 2017. The Freedom of Information Act (2000) provides public access to relevant information held by public authorities. Should you wish to submit an FoI request, please contact us.”

Given the Police Federation of England & Wales obvious compliance with Freedom of Information legislation, Police Officers in Scotland and others with an interest in policing – an intense area of public interest – would benefit considerably to access to information – from the same level of transparency applied to the Scottish Police Federation – via compliance with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Commenting on the petition submitted by ex Police Officer Robert Brown to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee – Brian Whittle MSP said “The petition has real merit, especially given that England and Wales have already gone down the same route

Howeverm a short debate then took place – with the Convener Johann Lamont & Deputy Convener Gail Ross of the Public Petitions Committee backing away from taking the matter further.

The petition to bring equality of transparency for the Scottish Police Federation was then abruptly closed – after Committee members were told the Scottish Government will not bring Freedom of Information accountability to the Scottish Police Federation.

Last year – the powerful and secretive Scottish Police Federation – which acts as a lobbying force for police officers in Scotland and has the power to decide or deny help to Police Officers – saw it’s General Secretary – Police Constable Calum A Steele – found guilty by PoliceScotland in relation to a complaint of online social media abuse against a former senior Police Officer – ‘Inappropriate and offensive’ Police union boss guilty of abusing female former chief in Twitter tirade.

The issue arose from comments made by Calumn Steele in response to criticisms about the appointment of a Chief Constable – Iain Livingstone – who had previously been accused of five allegations of serious sexual assault against a female Police Officer – reported in further detail 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

An earlier probe by Diary of Justice also revealed the Scottish Police Federation received millions of pounds of public cash over the years from the SNP Scottish Government – a full report can be viewed here: PROBE THE FED: Calls for Holyrood to probe secretive Scottish Police Federation as files reveal SPF General Secretary asked Scottish Government to withdraw £374K public cash grant funding – after social media transparency calls from cops

And, days after the Scottish Information Commissioner made an online statement via Twitter that it would recommend the Scottish Police Federation for Freedom of Information compliance – SPF General Secretary Calum Steele asked the Scottish Government to end the £374,000 public cash grant paid each year by Scottish Ministers to the Scottish Police Federation.

A full report on how Daren Fitzhenry – the Scottish Information Commissioner – backed away from promises to recommend FOI compliance for Scottish Police Federation, and evidence submitted by DOJ journalists to the Public Audit and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee of the Scottish Parliament, is covered in further detail here: FOI PROBE: Holyrood Committee hear Scottish Information Commissioner backed off promise to bring Freedom of Information to Scottish Police Federation – even after Info. Tsar knew England & Wales Police Fed. already complied with FOI legislation

As thngs stand at the date of publication – the Scottish Police Federation remain exempt from Freedom of Information legislation – despite the same transparency laws applying to the Police Federation of England & Wales.

Video footage and a transcript report of the Petitions Committee debate on bringing Freedom of Information compliance to the Scottish Police Federation follows:

Scottish Police Federation Freedom of Information petition – Public Petitions Committee 5 Dec 2019

Freedom of Information Legislation (Scottish Police Federation) (PE1763)

The Convener (Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour): The next new petition is PE1763, headed “Make the Scottish Police Federation comply with FOI legislation” and lodged by Robert Brown. The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to make the Scottish Police Federation comply with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Our briefing explains that freedom of information requirements apply broadly to public authorities such as Governments, councils and health boards. Police Scotland is subject to the requirements of the 2002 act, but the Scottish Police Federation is not. As police officers are prohibited from joining trade unions, the Scottish Police Federation was created as a staff association with responsibility for the welfare and efficiency of police officers. Trade unions are not covered by freedom of information legislation.

It could be argued that the Scottish Police Federation is akin to a trade union and, therefore, should not be covered by freedom of information requirements. However, the Scottish Police Federation was established by legislation; therefore, it could be argued that it has some similarities with public bodies. The Police Federation of England and Wales is required to comply with freedom of information legislation as a result of changes to the law that were made in 2017. The Scottish Government stated in July 2019 that it had no plans to make the Scottish Police Federation subject to freedom of information legislation.

Elaine Smith, who has noted her support for the petition, says:“I have realised that the Scottish Police Federation appear to be totally self-governing and do not conform to the standards set for England and Wales Federations”.

Do members have any comments or suggestions for action?

Brian Whittle (Scottish Conservative & Unionist):The petition has real merit, especially given that England and Wales have already gone down the same route. However, the Scottish Government has indicated that it has no intention of changing its position. Frustrating as it may be to both the petitioner and the committee with regard to investigating the issue, I do not know that there is anything in particular that we can do to push the matter forward, given that we know where the Scottish Government stands.

The Convener: I do not think that trade unions should fall within the remit of, or be caught by, freedom of information legislation. The police are not allowed to have a trade union, and the only way that they can have a staff association is through legislation. Would it be fair if what is, in effect, a trade union for the police fell under different legislation from that which applies to other trade unions?

The SPF is a unique organisation. However, given that I perceive the organisation as a trade union, I do not see why—unless I am arguing that all trade unions should be in the same position—it should be singled out. The police do not have any choice—they are not allowed, under different legislation, to set up a trade union.

Brian Whittle: The whole matter is really interesting following incidents down south, such as the plebgate scenario, that have brought the police there under the auspices of FOI legislation. Again, I go back to the fact that the Scottish Government has been quite firm in saying that it has no intention of moving down that route. I am, therefore, not quite sure what we can do with the petition.

Maurice Corry (Scottish Conservative & Unionist): It is a difficult one. The release of any information under FOI is entirely in the jurisdiction of the body that is being requested to release it, and there may be valid reasons why it cannot be released. There is some sort of parity. Perhaps we should go back and question the Scottish Government, just to double-check that it is still of the same view.

The Convener: The matter was not in the programme for government.

The Government said what it said in July 2019, so we know what the answer is going to be. We would only be deferring our decision on whether we want to explore the matter further. My feeling is that the case has not been made for why the SPF, as a quasi-trade union, should fall within the remit of FOI legislation, unless we are arguing that all trade unions should be subject to FOI—I would argue that they should not be. Why would we be inconsistent? There are particular circumstances that have led to the current position in England and Wales, but my sense is that there is not an issue in Scotland.

Gail Ross (Deputy Convener) (Scottish National Party): I agree. The Government has made it quite clear what its policy is, and that is not going to change. I agree with Brian Whittle—as a committee, we cannot really take the petition forward.

Maurice Corry: I have not said that I disagree with that; I just wanted to play the devil’s advocate, because the petition raises an issue that needs to be given serious thought. I understand the reasons why the SPF was set up.

The Convener: The petition highlights the difference between the circumstances in England and Wales and those in Scotland, and it gives us an opportunity to reflect on the situation. However, my sense is that there is no pressure for such a change in Scotland. It would require broader discussion about how a staff association inside the police should operate if it is not to operate like a trade union, and I do not think the case has been made for such a change.

My sense is that the committee agrees that we should close the petition under rule 15.7 of the standing orders, on the basis that the Scottish Government has confirmed very recently that it has no plans to make the Scottish Police Federation subject to freedom of information legislation.

Do members agree? Members indicated agreement.

Petition documents submitted by the petitioner, ex Police Officer Robert Brown – stated:

Elaine Smith MSP has made many representations on my behalf including writing to the various First Ministers, Justice Ministers, Lord Advocates, Police Complaints Commission, Strathclyde Police Authority, Police Investigation Review Commission, Strathclyde Police Federation and the Scottish Police Federation. Mrs Smith also lodged a number of parliamentary questions on my behalf including seeking clarification on the issue in July 2019 from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and from the Scottish Parliament Information centre.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) is currently not required to comply with The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, whereas the Police Federation of England and Wales is required to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

All UK police forces, except Police Scotland are also required to comply with the Act. In my opinion, the foregoing is an anomaly, given the situation in England and Wales and I would suggest that making the SPF compliant with The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 would assist every member of the SPF, every one of the 17,000 police officers in Scotland as well as members of the public who come into contact with the police and who are interested in openness and transparency.

The SPF hold large amounts of information about police officers including financial and medical information, as well as details about criminal and misconduct allegations made against officers. As a result of their position in representing police officers who are subject to investigation, the SPF receive and retain information about members of the public

Neither SPF members, police officers, nor members of the public are able to access this information. The SPF also hold large amounts of information about police officers’
pay, pensions, welfare and how SPF subscriptions are spent and used among other matters which can be accessed by other Federation members, police officers and members of the public, elsewhere in the UK, but not in Scotland.

The current anomaly in my opinion is a bar to any SPF member, police officer, member of the public or other interested party to gain access to information which is readily available to interested parties in other parts of the UK. If Scotland prides itself on openness and transparency then a body which represents many people and holds information on many more should not be allowed to be excluded from this legislation when equivalent bodies in other parts of the UK are not excluded from the equivalent legislation, i.e. The Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is specific to England and Wales and is therefore not applicable in Scotland. In my opinion, common sense dictates that the same standard should apply across the UK and accordingly this petition is calling for the SPF to be required to comply with the equivalent legislation in Scotland.

A question from Elaine Smith MSP on Freedom of Information compliance for the Scottish Police Federation – was answered by Humza Yousaf – the current Justrice Secretary – on 17 July 2019.

Elaine Smith (Central Scotland) (Scottish Labour): To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on making the Scottish Police Federation compliant with data protection and freedom of information legislation, in line with the Police Federation of England and Wales.

(S5W-24011)

Humza Yousaf: The Freedom of Information (FoI) acts provide for access to information held by public authorities and Trade Unions and Staff Associations are not generally covered by these acts.

The decision to add the Police Federation of England and Wales to FoI legislation was made by the Home Office and there are currently no plans to add the Scottish Police Federation to the Scottish FoI legislation.

Data Protection legislation does apply to the Scottish Police Federation and a link is attached below to their Privacy Statement, which explains how they processes personal data:

A briefing from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) – prepared for the Public Petitions Committee consideration of Petition 1763 – stated:

Background: Freedom of information

Freedom of information legislation allows individuals to request information held by public authorities. Freedom of information is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, so the legislative framework is slightly different between Scotland and England and Wales.

Broadly, freedom of information requirements apply to public authorities, such as governments, councils and health boards. They don’t generally apply to private bodies, although some private bodies carrying out public functions are covered (in relation to their public functions, rather than their wider work).

Police Scotland is subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The Scottish Police Federation is not. The Scottish Police Federation Police officers are prohibited from joining trade unions.

The Scottish Police Federation was created by the Police Act 1 919 as a staff association with responsibility for the welfare and efficiency of police officers.

Trade unions are not covered by freedom of information legislation. They are seen as private bodies representing the interests of members. It could be argued that the Scottish Police Federation is akin to a trade union and therefore should not be covered by freedom of information requirements.

However, the Scottish Police Federation was established by legislation and could be argued to have some similarities with public bodies.

The Police Federation in England and Wales

The Police Federation in England and Wales is required to comply with freedom of information legislation, as a result of changes to the law in 20171.

The then Home Secretary Theresa May argued that this change was necessary to improve transparency and accountability2.

It formed part of a wider reform initiative covering the Police Federation, which had been hit by several scandals. These included the so-called “plebgate” incident, involving allegations that the then UK Government Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell MP, had called police officers “plebs”.

Data protection legislation

Separately, data protection legislation controls how personal data (covering any information from which a living individual can be identified) can be used.

Individuals have rights to access information that organisations (including private bodies) hold about them personally under data protection legislation. Data protection is reserved to the UK Parliament (and is, at present, mainly controlled at a European Union level).

Freedom of information legislation cannot be used to require the release of information which would identify a living individual, unless this would also be possible under data protection legislation.

This would include information which would identify a police officer (including a police officer who was subject to a complaint) or a member of the public.

Data protection legislation will usually mean that the consent of the person affected would be required before their data can be released.

However, it is possible to release personal data to a third party without consent where it is “reasonable” to do so.

Consideration must be given to the circumstances of the case, including the type of information which would be disclosed. It is also possible for organisations to redact (block out) information which could lead to the identification of a living individual when responding to freedom of information requests.

Scottish Government Action

The Scottish Government has stated, in response to a parliamentary question from July 20193, that it has no plans to make the Scottish Police Federation subject to freedom of information legislation.

Scotland keeps it secrets, meahwhile England & Wales Police Federation is covered by Freedom of Information law:

Access to information Freedom of Information

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) is funded in part by police officers who pay subscriptions from their wages. We are not funded by the public, and we are the only staff association to be subject to Freedom of Information (FoI), which came into effect for the PFEW in April 2017. Much of the information you may ask for may already be on this website, so please take the time to search for what you need first.

How to ask for information: The Freedom of Information Act (2000) provides public access to relevant information held by public authorities. Should you wish to submit an FoI request, please contact us at foi@polfed.org

The General Data Protection Regulations and the UK Data Protection Act (2018) Subject Access provides a right for the requester to see their own personal data, rather than a right to see copies of documents that contain their personal data. If you wish to submit a SAR, please contact us at dataprotection@polfed.org.

For either of the above, we will have a better chance of finding the information you want if you are as specific as you are able to be and provide us as much detail as possible.

How long will it take to receive the information I want?: This will depend upon nature of the information you have asked for. If you have requested personal information about yourself then we should respond to your request within 1 calendar month from the point at which your request and identity has been verified.

For other requests you have a right to receive the information, or receive a valid refusal, within 20 working days, unless we need clarification.

Do you have an issue or case with the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) or any other information relevant to the SPF you wish to discuss? If so, please contact Diary of Justice with further details via scottishlawreporters@gmail.com.

 

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COURT GIFTING, M’LORD: Transparency declarations of ‘hospitality’ to Scotland’s Courts reveal gift giving by Police & Prosecutors to court staff – and reductions in declared hospitality from Legal Aid millionaire law firms

Hospitality Register identifies gifts to courts. A REGISTER which now requires the identification of anyone offering hospitality to Scotland’s Courts and judiciary – has seen a drop in high value gifts now recorded in more detail by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS)

However, the latest declarations of hospitality to court staff in Scotland – reveals a slight decrease in gifts & hospitality from law firms raking in millions in publicly funded legal aid, while ‘anonymous’ gifts from unidentified “Member of the public” appear to be on the rise.

Among the providers of ‘hospitality’ to court staff are multiple law firms, technology companies, in-house legal teams of Scottish Local Authorities, and even Police Scotland, who provided a “Crystal engraved Police Scotland Armed Policing Specialist Firearms Unit ornament” to the Supreme Courts.

And now – thanks to media scrutiny, records of hospitality which is offered but refused – is also now part of the register.

Examples of refused hospitality include a burns supper dinner, offered by Microsoft to the Information Technology Unit in January 2019, and questionable offers of hospitality by Procuratir Fiscals to court staff – which included a faculty dinner offered to court staff at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.

The rate of hospitality in terms of high value gifts has declined, at least if the disclosed records are to be believed.

And, law firms which are known to have received up to half a million pounds of legal aid every year – who were previously showering staff in local courts with gifts & hospitality – are no longer flooding the courts with perks & freebies after Diary of Justice began publishing disclosures on courtroom hospitality and it’s connections to legal aid & lawyers touting for business in local criminal courts.

The recently disclosed Register of Hospitality for Scotland’s Courts & Tribunals Service running from 2017-2019 – as provided by the SCTS in relation to a Freedom of Information request – can be viewed here: Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service Register of Hospitality 2017-2019

Among the extensive list of hospitality providing law firms are the following names, provided by a reader – which also highlight some gifts & hospitality from foreign Governments to Scotland’s courts. The location of hospitality offered/accepted is listed next to the provider: The Society of Solicitors of Hamilton (Hamilton Sheriff Court), Burnett & Co (Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Digby Brown Solicitors (Aberdeen Sheriff Court), McKinnon Hewitt Solicitors (Kilmarnock Sheriff Court), Belmonte & Co Solicitors (SCTS Lothian & Borders mgmt team), Leonards Solicitors (Hamilton Sheriff Court), Norwegian Civil Law Division (OPG & AOC), Innes Johnson LLP Kirkcaldy (Dunfermline Sheriff Court), Netherlands Judiciary, Lamont’s Solicitors Ayr (Ayr Sheriff Court), Aberdeen Bar Association (Aberdeen Sheriff Court), George Mathers & Co solicitors (Aberdeen Sheriff Court), West Lothian College, Bar Association (Aberdeen Sheriff Court), Nigel Beaumont Solicitor (Edinburgh Sheriff Court), Unidentified Solicitor 3x Hospitality (Livingston Sheriff Court), Adams Whyte Defence Lawyers (Livingston Sheriff Court), Bar Association (Livingston Sheriff Court), Allcourt Solicitors (Livingston Sheriff Court), Balfour & Manson (Supreme Courts), Ministry of Justice – Korea (OPG & AOC) , Ministry of Justice republic of Korea (OPG & AOC), Chinese Delegation (Supreme Courts), School Mock Court Case Project (Supreme Courts), Marsh Insurance (OPG & AOC), University of Glasgow (Glasgow Sheriff Court), Solicitors for the Elderly (Supreme Courts), Inverness Legal Services (Inverness Sheriff Court), Malcolm Boyd Sheriff Officers (Airdrie Sheriff Court), BTO Solicitors (Supreme Courts & Edinburgh Sheriff Courts), Stewart and Watson property & Legal services (Elgin Sheriff Court), T Duncan & Co (Forfar Sheriff Court), Caesar & Howie Solicitors Alloa (Alloa Sheriff Court) , PoliceScotland (Supreme Courts), Cockburn McGrane Solicitors (Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court), G4S (Dundee Sheriff Court), MacDonald Law, Thurso (Kirkwall Sheriff Court), Caird Vaughan Solicitors (Dundee Sheriff Court), Lefevre Litigation (Supreme Courts), Alistair Young Solicitor (Dumbarton Sheriff Court), McKenna Law Practice (Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court), President of the Law Society of Scotland (SCTS Chief Executive Office), Court Police Officers (Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court), Hunter & Robertson solicitors (Paisley Sheriff Court), Procurator Fiscals Office Hamilton, Summary Unit (Hamilton Sheriff Court), Bonnar Accident Law (Airdrie Sheriff Court), JK Cameron solicitors (Dumbarton, Airdrie Sheriff Court), Kenneth M Greener solicitors (Hamilton Sheriff Court), Wink and MacKenzie solicitors (Elgin Sheriff Court), Aberdein Considine solicitors (Aberdeen Sheriff Court), Mackie Thomson & Co Ltd solicitors (Hamilton Sheriff Court), North Lanarkshire Council Legal (Hamilton Sheriff Court), Procurator Fiscal (Dundee Sheriff Court), Stirling Dunlop solicitors (Hamilton Sheriff Court), the MacKenzie Law Practice (Inverness Sheriff Court), AC O’Neill solicitors (Dumbarton Sheriff Court), Adairs solicitors (Dumbarton Sheriff Court).

A full listing of solicitors & law firms, companies and others who offered hospitality to court staff and the judiciary – can be viewed by searching the Register of Hospitality document which runs in detail to twenty eight pages, providing details of all disclosed hospitality from law firms, and others to the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service.

Prior to Freedom of Information requests from DOJ journalists, the SCTS register of hospitality did not identify law firms – and was later found to be incomplete in recording hospitality, after an investigation was launched due to media coverage of gifts by law firms – some of which have received many millions of pounds of legal aid over the last decade.

Extract of Register of Hospitality 2013 Scottish Courts Service. Disclosures from the Scottish Court Service in documents reveal that in the last five years, over 500 instances of gifts and hospitality received by publicly funded SCS were declared under the rules.

Gifts such as expensive champagne, wines, chocolates and dinner invitations were given by lawyers and others to Sheriff Clerks and SCS staff, along with invitations to the Royal Garden Party, paid-for trips in planes, tickets to football matches and a host of other goods, services & gifts many court users may well come to question in terms of how much this gift giving by lawyers dents the supposed impartiality of court staff.

During reporting of the issue back in 2013, it emerged in the media that in some cases, lawyers had paid for criminal fines accrued by court staff, leading some to question their reasons for doing so and what secret benefits this brought to the legal profession and court staff involved.

At the time, legal sources acknowledged to Diary of Justice that significant numbers of gifts have not been declared by court staff, and that much of the gift giving may well be seen as thanks for favours done in court for law firms, particularly those who are pursuing clients for unpaid fees.

The lack of declarations of hospitality and gifts, and the coverage by Diary of Justice, which reported on concerns regarding hospitality involving Scottish Court Service employees – led to an investigation by Gillian Thompson – who served as Scotland’s second Judicial Complaints Reviewer (JCR)

Ms Thompson was asked by the Scottish Court Service to investigate reports of irregularities in hospitality given to court staff.

The request for the investigation came after the Scottish Court Service received Freedom of Information requests regarding hospitality in the courts, prompting concerns some staff may have accepted gifts or hospitality but failed to register.

Report said SCS Registers insufficient, Court staff involved in private gains failed to declare. Gillian Thompson’s Report on Hospitality & Gifts in the SCS stated:  “The information currently captured on the registers is insufficient to provide assurance that staff are using their common sense and considering issues such as conflict of interest.

Ms Thompson went on to recommend the “SCS should revise the Policy on Acceptance of Gifts, Rewards and Hospitality to ensure that it is fit for purpose for all staff, taking account of the various roles performed within SCS. It may also be time to revisit the levels of value for gifts and hospitality.”

The former AIB’s report also revealed court staff were using their positions to earn money privately from their links with lawyers and law firms operating in courts, stating “Several staff raised the issue of sheriff clerks who carry out extrajudicial taxations and private assessments and who personally benefit financially from these activities.”

Ms Thompson’s report roundly condemned this practice, stating: “Not only is it inappropriate in terms of the civil service code requirements for staff who are public servants to be able to receive private gain from their employment it is also highly divisive when other staff see such benefits being derived from simply being in the right post of Auditor of Court within the Sheriff Courts.”

Ms Thompson recommended in her report the “SCS should bring the practice of sheriff clerks profiting privately from their employment by SCS to an end as quickly as possible”.

HOW COURT CHIEFS LOST HOSPITALITY INFORMATION BATTLE

When DOI launched an initial investigation into hospitality and graft among court staff, the Scottish Court Service refused to release information relating to the gift register, claiming “the names of the gift or hospitality provider would be deemed as personal information” and “as the provider of the gift or hospitality was not made aware at the time that their name may be released, we consider disclosure of such is likely to bring the Scottish Court Service into conflict with the data protection principles.”

However, the Freedom of Information request – from DOJ – triggered a review of hospitality policy at the Scottish Court Service, leading to names of ‘’hospitality’ providers being added to the register.

Richard Warner of the SCS said: “I can advise you that due to your request for this information, the Scottish Court Service has changed the policy covering hospitality and gifts to ensure that the provider of any hospitality or gift are made aware that their name shall be entered on to our register and may be disclosed if requested in any future information request. This policy change shall take effect as from 1 January 2014 so the release of names may be considered in any future request for gifts or hospitality offered from this date. The policy also states that if the provider does not consent to their name being considered for release then the gift or hospitality cannot be accepted by a member of staff.”

After a request for review of refusal to disclose the information, the SCS again refused – this time around, claiming it would cost them too much to contact each law firm to ask permission to disclose their ‘hospitality’ to court employees. The SCS claimed they would have to contact every lawyer who gave a gift and this would cost too much to provide the information.

DOJ journalists took the matter up with Rosemary Agnew – the Scottish Information Commissioner – who requested Courts Chief Eric McQueen provide an explanation as to why the courts were blocking release of information on hospitality relationships between the legal profession and court staff.

John Kelly, Freedom of Information Officer at the SIC said: “Having written to and discussed the matter with the SCS, without being required to do so by way of a formal Decision Notice, the SCS has agreed to provide you with the information requested, subject to redactions in terms of section 38(1)(b) of FOISA on the basis that to disclose some of the names of individuals would breach the first data protection principle of the Data Protection Act 1998 (the DPA). I understand that the names of Solicitor and Law Firms will be provided.”

After the intervention of the Scottish Information Commissioner, the SCS subsequently released the hospitality list to journalists.

Richard Warner for the SCS said: “Having reconsidered your request, and the SCS response, I now attach a list which indicates law firms where this information has been recorded.  For the reasons stated in our earlier response this does not include the names of any individuals concerned as there could have been no expectation on their part that this information would be circulated or published widely.  As indicated previously, steps are being taken to ensure that individual persons are made aware at the relevant time that their details made be released as a result of an information request.”

Previous articles on hospitality and gifts to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, reports on gift giving to court employees and investigations by Diary of Injustice on the relationship between law firms and SCTS staff can be found here Hospitality and Gifts to the Scottish Courts.

 

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FOI PROBE: Holyrood Committee hear Scottish Information Commissioner backed off promise to bring Freedom of Information to Scottish Police Federation – even after Info. Tsar knew England & Wales Police Fed. already complied with FOI legislation

Scots Police Fed FOI scrutiny. A POST LEGISLATIVE inquiry into Freedom of Information law by the Scottish Parliament has published an account of how the Scottish Information Commissioner backed off promises to recommend FOI compliance for the union which represents all Police Officers in Police Scotland.

Evidence submitted to the Public Audit and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee (PAPLS) inquiry reveals how the office of the Scottish Information Commissioner initially promised to recommend Freedom of Information compliance for the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) on the social media network Twitter.

However, the SIC then backtracked over multiple enquiries from journalists as to what further work had taken place by Daren Fitzhenry and his staff.

In a tweet dated 18 May 2017, the Scottish Information Commissioner’s office wrote in response to calls for FOI compliance to recommended for the Scottish Police Federation: “Thanks – we’ll add it to our list of bodies to propose to Ministers. Individuals can also make their own representations to the Scot Gov”

The positive response came after the SIC was informed of the Freedom of Information compliance status of the Police Federation of England & Wales – which is enshrined in legislation:

Freedom of Information Act etc: Police Federation for England and Wales: The Police Federation for England and Wales is to be treated for the purposes of— (a)10the Freedom of Information Act 2000,(b)the Data Protection Act 1998, and (c)section 18 of the Inquiries Act 2005, as if it were a body listed in Part 5 of Schedule 1 to the 2000 Act (public authorities).

However, after further enquiries from the medial, no further work on the issue by the Scottish Information Commissioner took place, and in response to further enquiries, the SIC claimed they were under resourced to look into the case and requested journalists make a recommendation to the Scottish Government.

An investigation by journalists into the Scottish Police Federation funding – by using Freedom of Information laws to quiz the Scottish Government – revealed SPF Boss Calum Steele, wrote to the Scottish Government SEVEN DAYS after the Information Commissioner’s promise to recommend FOI compliance for the SPF.

The letter from PC Calum Steele to the Scottish Government informed Ministers the Scottish Police Federation no longer wanted an annual public cash handout of £374,000.

The annual Scottish Government funding grant – which has seen the Police Union rake in significant amounts of public cash over the years – is thought to be one of several reasons serving and former Police Officers along with journalists are seeking FOI compliance for the Scottish Police Federation.

The Public Audit and Post Legislative Scrutiny Committee has now published an evidence submission from journalist Peter Cherbi on how the Scottish Information Commissioner backed off their initial promise to recommend Freedom of Information Compliance for the Scottish Police Federation.

The full submission, available online here is published below:

PUBLIC AUDIT AND POST-LEGISLATIVE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

POST LEGISLATIVE SCRUTINY – FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (Scotland) ACT 2002

With regard to an example of a failure by the Scottish Information Commissioner to recommend an organisation (in this case the Scottish Police Federation) for FOISA compliance, I would like to submit this matter for consideration by the committee

In my role as a journalist, I was approached by persons including ex Police Officers who drew my attention to the lack of FOI compliance for the Scottish Police Federation and problems which members had experienced when attempting to make enquiries with the SPF – which – had the enquiry been via Freedom of Information legislation, would have been answered, and within a legal framework.

Noting the equivalent Police Federation of England & Wales has been FOI compliant for some time, I approached the Scottish Information Commissioner with a request the Commissioner look to recommend compliance for the Scottish Police Federation – given various transparency issues which had been brought to my attention, and the fact the equivalent Police Federation of England & Wales was already FOI Compliant.

However, while initially the SIC made what appeared to be a policy statement via twitter that they would “add it to the list of bodies to propose to ministers” on 18 May 2017 via twitter https://www.twitter.com/FOIScotland/status/865234073316470785 – further communications between myself and the SIC saw the Scottish Information Commissioner retreat from their earlier position.

A further chaser to the SIC on recommending compliance for the SPF then saw the SIC claim it was under-resourced, and could not undertake the work (although the SIC had written in considerable length on the issue to myself).

Ultimately the SIC then suggested I personally make a recommendation to Scottish Ministers on the matter – however, given what has already been learned in terms of how the Scottish Government treat such requests, and indeed my own experience of Freedom of Information compliance with the Scottish Government, a recommendation from myself as a journalist was unlikely to carry the same weight as one from the Scottish Information Commissioner.

The material accumulated as part of my research, including FOI disclosures from the Scottish Government, and contact with the Scottish Information Commissioner – is published online here: PROBE THE FED: Calls for Holyrood to probe secretive Scottish Police Federation as files reveal SPF General Secretary asked Scottish Government to withdraw £374K public cash grant funding – after social media transparency calls from cops

Given the Scottish Police Federation were in receipt of some £374,000 a year of public funds – an additional matter drawn to my attention by serving & former Police officers, I then sent FOI requests to the Scottish Government and took up the issue – noting that since the SPF was in receipt of public funds, this was an additional reason to bring the organisation within FOISA.

However, it is worth noting after I began to raise the issue with the Scottish Information Commissioner on social media, and some days after I approached the SIC with regards to recommending SPF compliance with FOISA the General Secretary of the SPF wrote to the Scottish Government and requested cancellation of the public cash grant.

It is difficult to conclude the raising of FOI compliance with the SIC, and the SPF’s decision to cancel the £374,400 public cash grant – all occurring within the same week – is a coincidence.

I feel the Committee should look into this matter, as an example of the process of recommending organisations for FOISA compliance.

And perhaps with the question of public funds to the Scottish Police Federation, and the notable request by the SPF for withdrawal of the public cash grant – only days after the issue of FOI compliance was raised publicly, there may be issues which the Committee may wish to explore further.

Among the additional FOI documents disclosed by the Scottish Government include some, but not all minutes of meetings & discussions around the grant funding for the Scottish Police Federation, and as has been consistent with recent Scottish Government releases, documents are subject to significant redactions.

However, while the letter from the SPF General Secretary to the Scottish Government reveals scant detail of SPF finances, former and currently serving Police Officers have posted their concerns on social media with regards to figures of up to ten million pounds held by the Scottish Police Federation in bank accounts & assets.

Social media postings by current and former Police Officers also refer to trips undertaken by SPF representatives including Callum Steele and suspended Sheriff Peter Watson – to various gatherings funded by the Scottish Police Federation.

Meanwhile, as current & former Police Officers & journalists asking questions of the SPF are either blocked online, or subject to social media attacks by supporters of the Scottish Police Federation and politically friendly elements – some of whom give after dinner speeches or lobby for public cash for their ventures, the Scottish Information Commissioner appears to have reneged on their enthusiasm for recommending FOI compliance for the SPF.

HOLROOD COMMITTEE PROBES FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LEGISLATION

The Post Legislative Scrutiny of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 began with MSPs taking evidence from stakeholders on 22 March 2018. The Committee took evidence from the Scottish Information Commisioner on 10 January 2019 and agreed to undertake post-legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

A SPICe briefing was also prepared for the Committee and also contains information about recent developments.

A second SPICe briefing was prepared, which includes global right to information data, September 2019.

Call for Evidence

The Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee launched a call for written views as part of its post-legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (the 2002 Act). The call for views launched on 6 of March 2019. The deadline was extended until the 21 June 2019.

Call for Views; Read the written submissions

The Freedom of Information inquiry has since heard evidence from journalists in an earlier session, where the Committee took evidence in a roundtable format from – Claire Cairns, Coalition of Carers; Severin Carrell, Scotland Editor, The Guardian; Dr Craig Dalzell, Head of Policy Research, Common Weal; Rob Edwards, Director and co-founder The Ferret; Carole Ewart, Convener, Campaign for Freedom of Information Scotland; Stephen Lowe, Policy Officer, UNISON Scotland; Nick McGowan-Lowe, Organiser Scottish Office, National Union of Journalists; and Bailey-Lee Robb, MSYP and Trustee, Scottish Youth Parliament.

A second evidence session also heard from Professor Kevin Dunion, Honorary Professor in the School of Law and Executive Director of the Centre of Freedom of Information, University of Dundee; Dr Karen McCullagh, Lecturer in Law and Course Director, LLM Media Law, Policy and Practice, UEA Law School, University of East Anglia; Professor Colin Reid, Professor of Environmental Law, University of Dundee; Alistair Sloan, Solicitor, Inksters Solicitors; Dr Ben Worthy (by video link), Senior Lecturer in Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London.

A further evidence session later this week on 7 November will feature evidence from Police Scotland; NHS Lanarkshie; Angus Council; NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde; University of Edinburgh; Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service; Aberdeen City Council; Society of Local Authority Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland.

All updates and progress on the PAPLS inquiry on the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 can be found at the Scottish Parliament’s website here: Post-legislative Scrutiny : Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

 

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POLICE STORY: Ex-Lord Advocate linked to Police union complaints lawyers – says Police should continue to investigate themselves, complaints against top cops should be heard by ‘quango style’ panel – headed & appointed by Scotland’s top judge

Police should investigate Police – report. A FORMER Lord Advocate once accused of undermining the judiciary by Scotland’s top judge – has delivered a preliminary report as part of a review on handling of complaints and investigations against officers of Police Scotland.

However, the report from Dame Elish Angiolini on “Independent review of complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing” – continues to advocate Police should continue to investigate themselves – on the vast majority of complaints.

Angiolini also goes on to outline an eerily familiar procedure where – in the case of complaints against the most senior cops –  a ‘quango’ style panel will be convened and headed by Scotland’s top judge – along with selected ‘independent’ persons from other quangos or organisations – appointed to the panel by – Scotland’s top judge.

The report from Elish Anglioni – who herself is linked to lawyers & law firms which represent Police Officers against complaints – states “The vast bulk of complaints should properly be investigated by the police service itself” and “it is critical that those processes are clear, transparent and trusted”.

As far as the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner is concerned, Angiolini states that “Independent supervision and audit is also critical. In those cases rightly requiring independent investigation the police must also provide the fullest co-operation and assistance to allow timely and effective action.”

In a recommendation linked to deaths in custody, and with relevance to the death of Sheku Bayoh who died in 2015 after being restrained by police in Kirkcaldy.

Angiolini’s report states that Police officers involved in a death in custody should be separated to prevent them conferring and contaminating evidence.

This recommendation comes after what happened following the death of Mr Bayoh, where up to nine officers involved were together in the same room for more than eight hours – which led to allegations the cops conferred with each other in compiling their reports of what happened during their involvement in the incident which ultimately lead to Mr Bayoh’s death.

Angiolini’s report states “Police officers involved in a death in custody or serious incident, whether as principal officers or witnesses to the incident should not confer or speak to each other following that incident.

“Early separation of officers, other than in pressing operational circumstances, is the best way to ensure non-conferral in practice, give transparency to the process and preserve the integrity of each individual’s evidence.

“This is in the interests of both the individual police officers themselves and the public interest in order to safeguard public confidence in the integrity of their evidence.”

“In any group of people there is a danger of group-think that could contaminate or colour evidence inadvertently or otherwise.”

However, what is not revealed anywher in the report is that Elish Angiolini – has frequently used the legal services of the same lawyer – Peter Black Watson – who also represented Police Officers involved in the same incident which led to the death of Mr Bayoh.

In a BBC Disclosure investigation, it was reported : Days after his death, the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) lawyer Peter Watson told the media that “a petite female police officer was subjected to a violent and unprovoked attack by a very large man who punched, kicked and stamped on her.”

The new evidence obtained by BBC Disclosure casts doubt on this account.

More on the BBC investigation can be read here: Sheku Bayoh: Fresh questions over death in police custody

It was also reported Peter Watson – who represented Angiolini in some high profile cases – had hit out against the family of Mr Bayoh over criticisms relating to the death in custody.

BBC News reported: Peter Watson of PBW Law said: “Comments made by those representing the family of the deceased promote a completely inaccurate and misleading account.”

He added: “The officer injured remains off work, has had several hospital visits and is now in rehabilitation.

“An examination by a leading consultant confirms her injuries were significant. The injuries have been documented and photographed.

“The officers involved have never refused to provide statements. It was agreed at the outset with the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) that they would revert to us when they wanted statements and when they were clear on the basis that statements were to be given.

“PIRC emailed me this morning at 10:46 asking for our assistance to organise interviews and we answered at 11:29 confirming we would be pleased to assist. Those are the facts.”

Peter Watson, and also his former law firm of Levy & Mcrae, both remain as legal service providers to the Scottish Police Federation – and have represented Police Officers facing complaints, and criminal charges – yet neither are identified in Angiolini’s report nor is her use of both Watson and Levy & Mcrae flagged up as a conflict of interest issue.

The report on scrutiny of complaints against the Police comes in a tough year for Police Scotland – after the appointment of Iain Livingstone to the top post of Chief Constable even after questions surfaced over Livingstone’s suitability for the role after he once faced five allegations of serious sexual assault against a female officer.

The allegations against Livingstone – who was demoted over the sexual assault allegations and then reinstated upon appeal after the case was heard by a male-led Police tribunal – resurfaced in the print media earlier in 2019 – and in a BBC Scotland investigation into cover ups and scandals at Police Scotland.

Previous articles reporting the sexual assault allegations against Iain Livingstone are available here: Scotland’s Chief Constable & what happened to five allegations of serious sexual assault against a female officer

Full report available here: Independent review of complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing

On complaints against top cops – Angiolini’s report on misconduct investigations against senior officers is critical of current procedures, and recommends responsibilities be transferred away from the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) – due to fears of familiarity between top cops and SPA figures, and a perceived lack of impartiality.

The report states: Police Scotland’s senior officers form a small group of 12 officers above the rank of Chief Superintendent. The members of this group are in regular contact with members and officials of the SPA at meetings of the Board of the Authority and its committees. The SPA, by its nature, also consists of a small group of members and executives. Regular engagement is right and proper and an essential part of the current accountability arrangements whereby it is the statutory function of SPA to hold the Chief Constable to account for the policing of Scotland. However, the regularity of that contact and the familiarity of senior police officers with board members and senior officials could lead to actual or perceived partiality, or antipathy, when it comes to disciplinary matters in which any of those same officers might be involved as the officer under complaint, a supporter to a subject, or a witness.

However, Angiolini’s solution to probes involving top cops – is to create a quango style panel of selected individuals – chaired by a very senior member of the judiciary or Scotland’s top judge – the Lord President – who will also appoint every one of the ‘independent’ persons to the quango style panel hearing complaints against senior cops.

From the report: The key stages of the senior officer misconduct proceedings (both misconduct and gross misconduct) should in future be removed from the responsibility of the SPA and made subject to consideration by an independent legally chaired panel appointed by a very senior member of the judiciary such as the Lord President. The Lord President should be consulted on this matter. The other members of the Panel should consist of an expert in senior policing and a lay person.

The process should follow the steps specified: 1) receipt of the complaint/allegations by SPA; 2) meaningful preliminary assessment and scrutiny of the complaint (within a strict deadline) by a senior Director; 3) prompt referral to the PIRC, or in the case of a criminal allegation to COPFS; 4) an independent investigation by the PIRC of the allegations which should remain confidential unless or until a prima facie case is established; 5) referral by the PIRC to an independent legally chaired panel and determination by the panel as to whether, in the light of the PIRC’s report, there is a case to answer of misconduct or gross misconduct; 6) a preliminary independent hearing by an independent, legally chaired panel to identify any evidence that is not in dispute and can be agreed, and any other matter which can be resolved prior to the formal hearing of the misconduct; 7) a hearing by the panel to consider the evidence, to determine the matter and if proven to decide the appropriate disciplinary action; 8) a right of appeal to a further and different legally chaired independent panel; and finally; 9) the implementation of the disciplinary action by the SPA as the “employer” of the senior officer. (Any constable may further appeal to a Police Appeals Tribunal against any decision to dismiss or demote him or her, and that should remain the case.)

The Panel should consist of independent people from other organisations or jurisdictions, and the Lord President should be consulted by the Scottish Government about the proposal that he should appoint suitable individuals. It is suggested that stages 5, 6 and 7 described in the preceding paragraph could be carried out by an independent 3-person panel comprising a legally qualified chair, one member with a senior UK policing background and one lay member; while the role of the SPA would be limited to stages 1, 2, 3 and 9. The appeal stage could also be conducted by a different independent panel appointed by the Lord President. 184. I believe that the principle of having an independent legally qualified chair for a misconduct hearing should also be extended to gross misconduct hearings for non-senior officers, that is, the rank of Chief Superintendents and below.

The Scottish Governemnt’s announcement of Elish Angiolini’s initial report mentions main points, does not allude to any relationships between the report’s author and law firms who have made millions of pounds from defending Police Officers from complaints and associated issues.

Independent review of complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing: preliminary report Published: 21 Jun 2019

Dame Elish Angiolini’s independent review addresses complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing in Scotland, in the wake of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012.

Foreword

In June 2018 Michael Matheson MSP, the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice, and the Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, invited me to conduct an independent review on complaints against the police in Scotland. The Review commenced in September 2018. Six years have passed since the creation of radical, new policing structures for Scotland. This is an appropriate juncture to review the effectiveness of the new systems for dealing with complaints against the police in Scotland, how well such complaints are investigated and the processes reviewed. This review also provides a significant opportunity to contribute to work on matters of profound public interest in a key area of human rights.

My mandate from the Ministers is to make recommendations that will help to strengthen public confidence in policing in Scotland. This first report makes recommendations that are preliminary. It will be followed next year by a wide‑ranging report seeking to ensure that the future legislation, regulations, guidance and practice are fit for purpose. It will also examine in detail the structures of the individual organisations charged with dealing with complaints against the police. Despite the very different responsibilities and natural tensions between the four separate organisations involved in the process, it is crucial that relationships are professional, respectful, and focused on continuous improvement of policing in Scotland and securing the rights of those they serve.

In 2017 I was asked by the then Home Secretary to carry out a review of deaths in police custody in England and Wales. In my report of that Review[1] I observed that we ask a lot of those who police us in the 21st century. The need to interact and sometimes intervene in the lives and freedom of members of the public is a daily occurrence for the police. Such duties involve the power to arrest or intervene where criminal conduct is suspected or where the welfare or life of that individual or others is at serious risk, as well as in many other emergency settings. The powers that flow from those duties are immense in their potential impact on citizens and are regulated by a complex framework of laws and regulations to prevent abuse or negligence in the exercise of those powers.

How those powers are exercised is also governed by the competence and integrity of the individual police officer as well as the wider police force within which he or she serves. In addition to law, training and guidance on how officers should approach encounters that may lead to detention, the community relies on the professionalism, wisdom, ethics and courage of police officers to approach incidents which may result in harm to the officers or others. These are often situations from which most in the community would wish to remove themselves immediately for their own personal safety. Where death or serious injury occurs for those detained by the police and, in other cases, where it is alleged the detention is unlawful, human rights considerations come into play and the state is obliged to carry out effective, timeous and independent investigations into those allegations. In those that result in death, the investigation must also be held in public and allow effective participation in the process by the next of kin of the deceased.

There is however a much wider set of complaints against the police which may involve other types of allegations of criminality. Serious complaints should also be the subject of independent investigation and consideration by a prosecution service independent of the police, others should be drawn to the attention of the prosecutor as soon as possible to allow the prosecutor to determine who should carry out the investigation. Further, members of the public who interact with the police may have complaints about the conduct or efficiency of officers or the quality of service they have received from the police service as an organisation. These matters represent the vast bulk of complaints and are principally directed at the quality of the service provided including rudeness, delay or ineffectiveness. These complaints are identified for a process which aims to be user friendly and capable of as swift and proportionate a response as possible by the police organisation itself, subject to independent supervision, audit and checks.

It can be seen therefore that the notion of a complaint against the police covers a very wide range of events, behaviours and conduct that can be very distinct from each other in character. There may also be occasions however where a combination of different categories of complaint can arise from any given situation. Similarly, the character of the complaint is not always apparent to those first to receive the intimation and further information needs to be sought or investigation undertaken before decisions are made about the route the complaint should take.

This variation in the nature of, and appropriate response to complaints, presents significant challenges for the police and appropriate agencies charged with supervising or investigating such matters; more so for any member of the public wishing to make a complaint. Any understanding of the operation of the different types of complaint and the complex routes for response flowing from the complaint has been described in another, similar context as displaying “the complexity of a wiring system from the star ship Enterprise”[2] This is certainly also the case in Scotland and it was put to this Review in evidence that “the current arrangements for handling complaints about the police are overly complex, lack clarity and can be open to a range of different interpretations”.

The vast bulk of complaints should properly be investigated by the police service itself but it is critical that those processes are clear, transparent and trusted. Independent supervision and audit is also critical. In those cases rightly requiring independent investigation the police must also provide the fullest co‑operation and assistance to allow timely and effective action. The effectiveness of the relations among and between each of the four organisations charged with these responsibilities in Scotland is also critical to success of the process. While the interaction of these organisations requires a degree of autonomy, and in respect of the COPFS and PIRC, independence from the police, independence does not equate to isolation, which undermines the independence of an organisation. In order for the independence of organisations to be maintained and enhanced, and for checks and balances to be effective, there must be regular and meaningful interaction at all levels of these agencies. There must also be mutual respect and an atmosphere of genuine co‑operation.

This preliminary report identifies and discusses a number of issues about these central matters for immediate consideration and others about which further comment is invited before the full report next year. Elish Angiolini 21 June 2019

Independent Report or Political Interference by Scottish Ministers

After an earlier attempt by Scottish Ministers to interfere in complaints reports from the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner, some see the Angiolini report as a new attempt by Scottish Ministers to control how investigations are handled against Police officers and particularly officers who have shown political support for Scottish Government policies.

The review of Policing complaints handling came after the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner Kate Frame spoke out on the subject of who should investigate the Police in a Sunday Post article, here: So who should police the police? In her first interview in four years, Police Scotland watchdog breaks her silence

In the interview, Kate Frame called on MSPs to review who probes misconduct claims against officers and said whistleblowers should be able to turn to investigators outside the force.

Ms Frame said: “There is a discussion to be had about whether the police should investigate themselves.

“I think that from the public’s position, they would feel an independent investigation which has not been undertaken by the police would be preferable.”

In an earlier article it was revealed Police Complaints watchdog Kate Frame had accused Scottish Ministers of interfering in her functions as Scotland’s independent Police watchdog, reported by the Sunday Post here: Emails reveal police commissioner accused Scottish government of interfering after Justice Secretary’s aide asks her to delay scathing report

In an article featuring Scottish Government interference with PIRC, the Sunday post reported “the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner had to warn one of Justice Secretary Michael Matheson’s senior civil servants to back off after he attempted to persuade her to delay the publication of a damning report.”

”Ms Frame responded to the civil servant’s suggestion that her report might be delayed by writing: “My perception of your remarks is governmental interference with my independence.”


PROBE CONFLICT: Ex Lord Advocate used same lawyers who are paid to defeat complaints by Police Union

A FORMER Lord Advocate who has links to lawyers and a suspended judge who represent the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) and cops facing complaints – has been appointed to review how complaints are handled against cops.

However, details released of the review fail to mention that Dame Elish Angiolini (nee McPhilomy) – hired Levy and Mcrae – who have been paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by Police Scotland & the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) – to get cops off the hook from complaints – including probes into deaths.

One of the lawyers linked to ex Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini – is Sheriff Peter Watson –  who was suspended from the judicial bench by  Lord Brian Gill in 2015, after being named in a £28m writ linked to bust hedge fund Heather Capital.

Watson represents Police officers facing complaints and investigations by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner.

More on Elish Angiolini’s connections to law firms representing Police Officers facing complaints, and an investigation revealing she earned over £600K on inquiry appointments can be found here: PROBE CONFLICT: £604K public cash inquiry magnate Ex Lord Advocate appointed to investigate Police complaints – linked to lawyers representing cops facing complaints

The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee is due to hear evidence on Monday 24 June 2019 from Elish Angiolini on the Independent review of complaints handling, investigations and misconduct issues in relation to policing.

 

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POLICE DECLARED: Cops Interests Register reveals controversial Chief Constable retains Law Society of Scotland membership, holds seat on ‘Sentencing Council’ quango – yet details fail to give clear picture of highly paid top cops links, interests

Top Cops interests ‘declared’  WHILE Scotland’s judiciary continue to battle against declaring their considerable wealth, influence, links & financial interests, Police Scotland has released new information into the less than detailed world of how Scotland’s well paid top cops are required to declare their interests.

The information, published in response to a Freedom of Information request also reveals Police Scotland’s current Chief Constable Iain Livingstone – who once faced a case involving five allegations of sexual assault from a female colleague – retained his membership of the powerful lawyers lobby – the Law Society of Scotland.

It is worth noting, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone – a former solicitor – appears to have retained his Law Society membership – since joining the Police in the 1990’s, through the critical phase of the tribunal hearings into the sexual assault allegations during his time at Lothian & Borders Police – to his appointment as Chief Constable of Police Scotland, and to this date.

The declarations of interests by all officers, regardless of rank – also note Iain Livingstone’s position on the Scottish Sentencing Council – a quango created by the Scottish Government after the retirement of Lord Brian Gill – who once criticised the quango as politicial interference with the judiciary.

The Scottish Sentencing Council’s role is to create sentencing guidelines for the courts – and is currently headed by the Lord Justice Clerk – Lady Dorrian.

However, while the declarations are a welcome window on the interests of Scotland’s senior Police Officers, the lack of detail in comparison to information contained in registers of interest such as those required by Members of the Scottish Parliament – do raise questions any keen financial investigators would quickly notice – such as the flow of salaries, cash, assets and other business interests which may have been purposely placed in relatives names.

The declarations of interests o Police Scotland’s current top cops – which were supplied by Police Scotland’s ‘information unit’ only after an initial refusal to release the information, reveal the following:

CC Iain Livingstone:

Public Appointments:

Member – Independent Steering Group (Op Kenova), Reviewed Annually – No remuneration.

Member – Scottish Sentencing Council, Reviewed Annually – No remuneration.

No Financial and Business interests No Political activity No related party transactions No conflict of interest

DCC Fiona Taylor:

No Public Appointments

Financial and Business interests – Owns a flat which is let No Political activity No related party transactions No conflict of interest

ACC Bernard Higgins:

Public Appointments:

Trustee – Police Care UK (formerly known as Police Dependents Trust), May 2013 – Present – No remuneration.

Board Member – Euro 2020 Local Organising Committee, 2017 – Present – No remuneration

No Financial and Business interests No Political activity No related party transactions No conflict of interest

ACC Angela McLaren:

Public Appointments:

Trustee – The Police Treatment Centres, for a period of 3 years – No remuneration. – Companies House shows Appointed on: 01st December 2018.

Trustee – St George’s Police Children Trust, for a period of 3 years – No remuneration. – Companies House shows appointed on 1st December 2018.

No Financial and Business interests No Political activity No related party transactions No conflict of interest

ACC Paul Anderson:

Public Appointments:

Chair Racing Committee, Scottish Canoe Association, 2019-2020 – No remuneration.

No Financial and Business interests No Political activity No related party transactions No conflict of interests

Other Executive Officers

DCC Johnny Gwynne (retired 15/03/2019 but in post at the date of request)

DCC Will Kerr, ACC Mark Williams, ACC John Hawkins, ACC Gillian MacDonald, ACC Alan Speirs, ACC Malcolm Graham, ACC Steve Johnson

No Public Appointments No Financial and Business interests No Political activity No related party transactions No conflict of interest

A previous media investigation into Police Officers interests in Scotland, revealed offices are required to declare their interests, with the information held on a database which can be accessed via Freedom of Information legislation.

The earlier report is published here: COPS & JOBBERS: Scotland’s 1,512 ‘Two Job’ Cops required to declare outside business interests – meanwhile 700+ strong Scots judiciary resist Holyrood probe calling for judges’ register of interests

Police Service of Scotland Regulations 2013 – Business interests:

5.—(1) A constable must not have a business interest without the consent of— (a) the Authority, in the case of a senior officer; (b) the chief constable, in the case of any other constable, provided that, in the case of any such constable in whose case the chief constable has an interest otherwise than as chief constable, the chief constable must refer the matter to the Authority for it to consider whether to consent.

(2) If a constable acquires or is likely to acquire a business interest, the constable must forthwith give written notice of that interest to the chief constable or, in the case of a senior officer, the Authority.

(3) If a constable has a business interest and is appointed to the office of chief constable, deputy chief constable or assistant chief constable, the constable must forthwith give written notice of that interest to the Authority unless the constable has previously disclosed that interest to the Authority.

(4) An individual applying for appointment to the Police Service, other than an individual referred to in paragraph (5), must give written notice to the chief constable of any business interest which that individual has or is likely to acquire after appointment.

(5) An individual applying for appointment to the office of chief constable, deputy chief constable or assistant chief constable must give written notice to the Authority of any business interest which that individual has or is likely to acquire after appointment.

(6) An individual or constable is regarded as having a business interest if— (a) that individual or constable carries on any business or holds any office or employment for hire or gain (otherwise than as a constable) in the United Kingdom; (b) that individual or constable resides at any premises where any member of that individual’s or constable’s family keeps a shop or carries on any like business in Scotland; (c) that individual or constable holds, or any member of that individual’s or constable’s family living with that individual or constable holds, any licence, certificate or permit granted in pursuance of the laws relating to liquor licensing or betting and gaming or regulation of places of public entertainment in Scotland or has any pecuniary interest in such licence, certificate or permit; or (d) that individual’s or constable’s spouse (not being separated from that individual or constable), civil partner (not being separated from that individual or constable) or cohabitant (not being separated from that individual or constable) keeps a shop or carries on any like business in Scotland.

(7) For the purposes of this regulation— (a) “member of that individual’s or constable’s family” includes parent, son, daughter, dependant, brother, sister, spouse (not being separated from that individual or constable), civil partner (not being separated from that individual or constable) or cohabitant (not being separated from that individual or constable); and (b) “cohabitant” means a member of a couple consisting of— (i) a man and a woman who are living together as if they were husband and wife; or (ii) two individuals of the same sex who are living together as if they were civil partners.

COPS DECLARE, JUDGES CONCEAL:

While Police Officers have been required to declare their interests for a number of years, members of Scotland’s judiciary continue to wage a bitter SEVEN YEAR campaign against proposals to require members of Scotland’s judiciary to declare their interests, and links to big business.

The salary scales of officers in Police Scotland – where all officers are required to declare their interests – show a Police Scotland constable can expect £26,037 per annum going up to £91,179 for a Chief Superintendent with 3 years experience to Assistant Chief Constables: £118,485 , Deputy Chief Constables: £174,741 and the Chief Constable: £214,404

However – Scotland;s judges have no such requirement to declare interests, despite huge judicial salaries which rank as the highest in all of Europe – skyrocketing from Sheriffs on £137,538 a year up to Sheriff Principals on £148,526 a year while judges of the Outer House of the Court of Session earn £185,197 a year and Inner House judges earning £210,876 per annum.

The Lord Justice Clerk (currently Lady Dorrian) earns £221,757 a year, and the Lord President (currently Lord Carloway, aka Colin Sutherland) earns £229,592 a year.

The proposal to bring greater transparency to Scotland’s judiciary – Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland’s judiciary – first debated at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in January 2013 – calls for the creation of a publicly available register of judicial interests – containing information on judges’ backgrounds, figures relating to personal wealth, undeclared earnings, business & family connections inside & outside of the legal profession, membership of organisations, property and land, offshore investments, hospitality, details on recusals and other information routinely lodged in registers of interest across all walks of public life in the UK and around the world.

A full debate on the proposal to require judges to declare their interests was held at the Scottish Parliament on 9 October 2014 – ending in a motion calling on the Scottish Government to create a register of judicial interests. The motion was overwhelmingly supported by MSPs from all political parties.

Previous articles on the lack of transparency within Scotland’s judiciary, investigations by Diary of Injustice including reports from the Sunday Herald and Sunday Mail newspapers, and video footage of debates at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee can be found here : A Register of Interests for Scotland’s Judiciary.

 

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JUDGE SCANDAL: Dark side of Scotland’s judiciary reveals how judges & courts covered up scandal hit judges – from fraud, tax avoidance, alcohol related violence to the wife-beating Sheriff – who all avoided action from Crown Office & Police

Judiciary, Police & prosecutors failed to act on retired scandal Sheriff. THE WAY in which the Judiciary of Scotland deal with allegations against their own members, was never more evident, and in remiss than when the wife of a now deceased Sheriff tried in vain to report her judge husband to Police and prosecutors.

The late Sheriff Lothian, who it turns out – was well known to judicial figures and even Scottish Court Service staff – for his visits to sauna parlours, rumours of mistreatment of his family and use of prostitutes – is one of the dark, yet not so far away chapters of Scotland’s legal circuit.

Yet to this day, snippets of similar behaviour by sheriffs & senior legal figures from unpublished court documents, hearings in chambers,quietly arranged divorces and even missing Police reports – is as shielded from the public today, as it was during Lothian’s reign in the Sheriff courts.

Far from the image of judicial figures cosying up to First Ministers, Lord Advocates and the reluctant ex top judges lecturing politicians and the public on morality, transparency and accountability – members of the judiciary have recently been caught up in all kinds of seedy accusations, ranging from mega millions in hedge fund linked financial impropriety, to carefully concealed court cases and even divorce, where allegations against judges range from wife battering to drunken rages and smashing objects.

Yet, the public learn very little, if usually nothing of these events – and mysteriously, the courts, prosecutors, even Police, all comply with a very judicial silence.

The “me too” #metoo movement – a campaign to denounce sexual assault and harassment – which has somehow mysteriously skipped Scotland under First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – certainly stands no chance against angry, embittered & wife beating members of the judiciary.

Nor does “me too” stand a chance against shady senior figures in Police Scotland– who support each other when reports of sexual assault or harassment end up buried with a ‘no action’ ticket at the Policeman’s ball.

The history of the demise of Sheriff Lothian – who died in 2016 – is well known.

However, the cover up by colleagues on the bench, who knew of Lothian (and other judicial figures) associations with prostitutes, sauna bars, and the attempts by Lothian’s wife to report her husband to the Police & Crown Office – stands to this day as an example of the dark side of Scotland’s judiciary.

A carefully crafted system of cover up, denial and protection of a 500 year old white male dominated judiciary – which runs from the lowly Justices of the Peace who have criminal records for shop lifting & assault, to the most senior levels of the bench where tax avoidance, failures to declare interests, wife beating & carefully denied allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace never see the inside of a court, the pages of a recusal register or the ink of a charge sheet.

It is also worth noting, many of Scotland’s current senior judges were on the judicial bench during Sheriff Lothian (among others) penchant for boozing, sexual assault, use of prostitutes & reign of terror at home. Yet, to this day, not one judge ever spoke out.

Sheriff Lothian quietly retired on a pension of £7,000 a month.

A Freedom of Information disclosure from the Scottish Government to DOI Journalists also revealed Sheriff Lothian received substantial payments from the Scottish Government & service awards.

Documents within the FOI disclosure reveal that under the Judicial Pensions Act 1981, Sheriff Lothian was entitled to a pension of £63,200.00 per annum and a lump sum of £84,547.00 and in addition Lothian would receive a service award of £50,560.00, based on a salary of £126,400.

Additionally, under the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993, Sheriff Lothian was entitled to a pension of £62,627.00 per annum, and a lump sum of £84,547.00 together with a net service award of £52,920.00 – based on his pensionable pay of £125,253.33.

Exchanges within the documents disclosed by the Scottish Government also reveal the then Justice Secretary – Kenny MacAskill – was not informed of Sheriff Lothian’s sudden decision to quit the bench, and further emails between heads of the justice department show concern at enquiries from newspapers as to the conduct & status of Sheriff Lothian.

In relation to the allegations against Sheriff Lothian of wife beating and other reports to Police – no action was ever taken against him by the Crown Office or Lothian & Borders Police.

A report on the allegations against Sheriff Lothian and the suffering of his wife, which exposed brutality at a judicial level, featured in the former News of the World newspaper.

It may be a grim read for some, but a necessary read for all – and much further afield than Scotland:

SICK SECRETS OF SAUNA SHERIFF

Ex-missus claims Lothian’s obsession with vice girls and booze destroyed their marriage  Downed sprits daily  Begged for 3-way sex  Hit wife at Christmas

By MARCELLO MEGA News of the World 15 March 2009

SLEAZY sheriff Andrew Lothian is a wife-beating drunk who’s obsessed with prostitutes, his ex-wife reveals today.

The shamed 66-year-old was forced to quit the bench after claims he paid for spanking and whipping sessions with an Edinburgh hooker.

But today the News of the World can expose the SHOCKING secrets of his sordid private life.

According to long-suffering ex-wife Harriet Lothian, the twisted beak TRIED to make her have sex with strangers while he watched

ADMITTED using prostitutes during their marriage

DOWNED at least a bottle of spirits every day, and BATTERED her while their unsuspecting kids slept upstairs.

Speaking at length for the first time since her ex-husband’s sauna shame, disgusted Harriet, 57, said: “I’m surprised it took so long for his activities to be exposed.

“I tried repeatedly to alert the police and the Crown to his unsuitability for office because of his behaviour, but to no avail.

“I suffered greatly at his hands, both during our marriage and for many years after I divorced him.”

We told last November how Lothian quit his £125,000-a-year job after Crown Office bosses confronted him about allegations over his private life.

But, according to Harriet his obsession with sordid sex had been going on for YEARS.

Lothian’s wife of 19 years said: “Sexually, there were problems from an early stage in the marriage.

“I found it so unsettling that I sought advice from my father, who was a doctor, and who I could talk to about anything.

“Andrew was into kinky but fairly inadequate sex. He also had fantasies about introducing third parties, men or women, into the bedroom.

“I had no interest, but he kept asking me to do it to please him.

Repugnant

“I refused because I found the idea repulsive. He said he could pay people to make his fantasies come true.” Harriet suspected her hubby was using hookers DURING their marriage.

And she told how her elderly father was forced to confront Lothian about the sleazy claims.

Harriet said: “He confessed without any shame. He told me he had lost his virginity at 16 to a prostitute, and that he’d always been turned on by them.

“I was devastated. I told him I’d never have unprotected sex with him again but he was totally unrepentant.

“Once his obsession was out in the open, he became more demanding. If he was out at a dinner, he would bring men home and want me to have sex with them while he watched.

“I would have to throw them out, which was embarrassing. I found the idea repugnant. Apart from anything else, I had children in the house.

“My father was 68, but was very close to me and he had no hesitation in speaking to Andrew and telling him to shape up.”

The couple had married on December 28, 1983, after a whirlwind romance.

Lothian already had a son, also Andrew, from the first of two previous marriages, and Harriet had a young son, James, from a previous relationship.

Two years after their wedding, Harriet gave birth to their son Robert, but already the foundations of the marriage were beginning to crumble.

She says: “By the time Robert came along, I had serious concerns about his father’s alcoholism and how terribly ill it was making him.

“He was drinking at least a bottle of spirits a day, and that was just what I was witnessing. He was in a mess.

“I went home with Robert on New Year’s Day 1986 and Andrew was in such a terrible state that he became abusive. I threw a milk bottle at him and hit him on the side of the head.

“The next day, I insisted he saw a doctor, and he agreed because his mother was in the house.

Harriet tried to alert senior legal officals to her husband’s alcohol abuse but was snubbed at every turn.

Things spiralled further out of control and by Christmas 1996 Harriet demanded Lothian move out.

She said: “His language became more abusive. There were implied threats of violence and the odd punch to the side of the head where no visible marks were left, but I was still shocked by what happened then.”

Harriet told how their sons, James, now 27, and Robert, now 23, were in their bedrooms when a huge row erupted on Christmas Eve that year.

She claims Lothian slapped her hard in the face, before punching her full on the nose.

As their shocked mother took refuge in the bathroom, where she tried to stem the flow of blood, both sons plucked up the courage to leave their rooms and go to her aid.

Charade

With her face badly marked and her eyes beginning to blacken, the family went through the motions the next day, exchanging presents and eating dinner — but the mood was understandably bleak.

Harriet said: “Until that point, I’d been trying to hold things together for my sons, but I couldn’t go on with the charade.

No child should have to see their mother pouring with blood from a blow their father has struck.

It was a total nightmare.” Robert said: “I remember clearly what happened that night and it sickens me the way he behaved. It is more than ten years since I have spoken to him.

“When I was 12 I wrote him a letter telling him I wanted nothing to do with him.” Following the attack Harriet demanded that Lothian move out of the family home in Lauder, Berwickshire.

She wept: “I feared for the safety of our sons. I had no choice.”

But in SLEAZE: summer 2001 Lothian — then living in Edinburgh — launched a court bid to SELL the house.

She said: “The move was especially hurtful as Robert was about to start his Higher courses.

“It was also difficult to understand as Andrew had inherited a six-figure sum the previous year when his mother died.”

Lothian’s partner at that time, Eleanor Burns, daughter of Sir John and Lady Eleanor Burns, had also inherited a substantial sum on the death of her mother, just a week before Catriona Lothian’s death.

By 2002, when they finally divorced, Harriet claims exclusive that Lothian enjoyed a six-figure salary whilst Harriet took care of their children and could only work part-time as a rape crisis counsellor.

In the end she had to pay Lothian £28,000 to buy him out of the family home and finish the marriage.

Assault

Lothian and his brother Murdoch were subject to an Inland Revenue investigation in 2000 after claiming the contents of their late mother’s Stirling home were worth a mere £5,000.

This included antique furniture, jewellery, silver, paintings and pottery.

It’s understood the Inland Revenue later valued the list at £300,000.

But Harriet still wishes justice had been done for the assault she endured in 1996. She said: “Successive governments on both sides of the border have claimed to wage war on domestic violence.

“There was an opportunity for the Scottish establishment to show there was substance behind the platitudes by taking action against a senior lawyer. But typically, they covered his back.” Now self-employed in horticulture, Harriet added: “I have to work extremely hard to make a living.

Andrew’s disgrace has not made life any easier, but I feel vindicated.”

Lothian served on the Glasgow bench from 1979 to 1992 before moving to Edinburgh. He’s expected to keep his £7,000-a-month pension.

He was unavailable to comment on the allegations.

Read more articles about the Judiciary of Scotland here : Judiciary of Scotland – Previous articles

 

 

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TOP OF THE COPS: Police Scotland media team in row over “wrong” word in transcript of top cop explaining away suspension, demotion & reinstatement after male-led cop tribunal cleared him from FIVE allegations of serious sexual assault

Scotland’s new Top Cop once faced serious sexual assault probe. THE “WRONG” word in a newspaper’s transcribed version of an interview with the officer who is now Scotland’s new Chief Constable – Iain Livingstone – became the subject of bitter exchanges between media officers of Police Scotland and a national newspaper.

Reports from inside the media have revealed the matter became the subject of protracted requests to the Daily Mail newspaper from Police Scotland’s media unit – which includes a Communications officer identified as Chris Starr.

The dispute arose after a mistake was identified in the paper’s published transcript of a television interview asking Iain Livingstone about how he dealt with five allegations of serious sexual assault from a female colleague.

The mistake amounted to one word – “all” .. which should have read from interview as “wrong”.

However, questions have arisen as to why Police Scotland’s media unit hare being used to target the media over the wording of a transcript – a task which should have been allocated to a law firm.

And, while cops have taken issue with reporting of the sexual assault allegations against Scotland’s new Chief Constable, Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority continue to resist full disclosure and publication of the full details of the FIVE allegations of sexual assault made against Iain Livingstone by a female officer who has since left the force.

Livingstone was recently confirmed as Scotland’s new Chief Constable after a gruesome sequence of suspensions of colleagues, a damning report on how Scots Police spied on journalists and whistle-blowers, and the Ministerial backed ousting of former Chief Constable Phil Gormley.

During the BBC Scotland Investigates 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.

I fell asleep in the wrong place and that was “wrong” 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.

I came back to work, I accepted that I made a mistake, I accepted I had learned from it and since that time I have continued to conduct my duties with absolute rigour and professionalism.”

Asked whether he could be the ‘strong professional leader with integrity’ that the public want as chief constable, Iain Livingstone said: “I think I could discharge the responsibilities of the job. ‘One of my main strengths, I think, is the ability to work collectively and to work in a collegiate manner.”

“I do think I could do the job, I just need to be quite clear in my own mind that that’s what I want to do for the next three to five years.”

Mr Livingstone was suspended in 2003 after a female officer said she was sexually assaulted at Tulliallan, Scotland’s police training college.

At the time he was 36, a father of three, and held a post in Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, which used to oversee regional police forces.

There were no legal proceedings – although Mr Livingstone was demoted from superintendent to constable in 2004 following a disciplinary hearing.

Five allegations of serious sexual assault were dismissed but, at an internal misconduct hearing, he admitted being in the woman’s room overnight after falling asleep.

The hearing, chaired by the then assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police, found there had been no sexual impropriety or intent.

The woman, who had been on the accelerated promotion scheme for graduates, was reported to have left the scheme, which guarantees fast-track promotion.

A statement to the Press issued by a Police Scotland media representative in May on the subject of the BBC Scotland interview stated: “This matter was subject to due process by Lothian and Borders Police and was formally concluded under police regulations 14 years ago.”

“A hearing concluded that there was no sexual impropriety or intent on Mr Livingstone’s part and he has nothing further to add.”

TIMELINE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST TOP COP:

FEBRUARY 2003: Iain Livingstone, then 36, is suspended amid sexual assault claims and admits he is ‘shattered’.

AUGUST 2003: Prosecutors drop proceedings against Mr Livingstone – but he faces internal disciplinary proceedings.

JUNE 2004: Mr Livingstone is demoted from the rank of superintendent to constable, which means a loss of more than £1million in salary and pension payments.

AUGUST 2004: Tayside’s Chief Constable John Vine upholds Mr Livingstone’s appeal and reinstates him, agreeing that the original decision was ‘harsh’.

OCTOBER 2015: Now Deputy Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Mr Livingstone emerges as a candidate for the top job after Sir Stephen House quits.

DECEMBER 2015: Former Norfolk Constabulary Chief Constable Phil Gormley is named as the new boss of Police Scotland.

JULY 2017: Mr Livingstone announces his retirement, saying it was a ‘privilege to serve the people of Scotland’.

SEPTEMBER 2017: Amid the bullying row engulfing Mr Gormley, Mr Livingstone cancels his retirement plan and takes charge of the single force.

APRIL 2018: Front runner to become the new full time chief, Mr Livingstone is confronted about his conduct in a BBC Scotland TV documentary.

Journalist Sam Poling questioned Iain Livingstone during the BBC Scotland documentary, A Force in Crisis, which aired on Monday 30 April 2018.

The transcript of the interview between Sam Poling & then Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone (now promoted to Chief Constable) reads as follows:

SAM POLING: What about your background?

DCC IAIN LIVINGSTONE: My background as a police officer?

SAM POLING: The allegations of sexual assault. You ended up admitting misconduct, staying in the room of a junior officer.

You were bumped down from superintendent to constable and suspended. Am I right?

DCC IAIN LIVINGSTONE: No, not on that, no you’re not right.

SAM POLING: You weren’t taken down from superintendent to constable?

DCC IAIN LIVINGSTONE: No, I wasn’t taken down from superintendent to constable and then suspended.

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.

I fell asleep in the wrong place and that was wrong 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.

I came back to work, I accepted that I made a mistake, I accepted I had learned from it and since that time I have continued to conduct my duties with absolute rigour and professionalism.

SAM POLING: The public want a strong professional leader with integrity in their chief constable. Is that you?

DCC IAIN LIVINGSTONE: I think I could discharge the responsibilities of the job. One of my main strengths, I think, is the ability to work collectively and to work in a collegiate manner.

I do think I could do the job, I just need to be quite clear in my own mind that that’s what I want to do for the next three to five years.

SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST TOP COP TO REMAIN SECRET:

A statement from Police Scotland in response to the Freedom of Information request refused any form of disclosure or acknowledgement of the status of any files held by Scotland’s single national Police service read as follows:

“Police Scotland endeavours to provide information whenever possible. However, under section 18(1) of the Act, a public authority may refuse a request where:

• if the information existed and was held by the authority, it would be exempt from release under any of Sections 28 to 35, 38, 39(1) or 41 of the Act; and

• the authority considers that to reveal whether the information exists, or is held by it, would be contrary to the public interest.

In this instance, it is considered that to reveal whether the information you have requested exists, or is held by Police Scotland, would be both exempt from release under the Act and contrary to the public interest. There is a strong public interest in protecting individuals’ privacy, and personal information is exempt from release into the public domain under section 38 of the Act if it would be unfair, unlawful or otherwise breach the Data Protection Act.

For these reasons, Police Scotland must refuse your request under section 18(1) of the Act.

This notice should not be taken as conclusive evidence that the information you have requested exists or is held.”

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 Scottish Police Authority 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.

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 colleagueAssistant Chief Constable John McLean of Strathclyde Police.

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 – reported here: PROBE CONFLICT: £604K public cash inquiry magnate Ex Lord Advocate appointed to investigate Police complaints – linked to lawyers representing cops facing complaints

A full report on Police Scotland’s refusal to release the details of allegations against Iain Livingstone can be found in an earlier article 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

A report on the Scottish Police Authority’s refusal to release information in connection with the allegations of sexual assault against Iain Livingstone can be found here: THE COP FACTOR: Scottish Police Authority refuse to release documents on sex assault case top cop who wants to be Chief Constable – now, new info said to contain more complaints & references to ‘interaction with another officer’

 

 

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