Educating The People of Scotland

Scotland's Angels

Line of Duty: Police Scotland investigated by ex-officers at watchdog

Exclusive: Pending Police Scotland misconduct investigations are being carried out by former serving investigating Police officers from all over the United Kingdom in a real-life Line of Duty

  • John Glover Trainee reporter
  • 22:00, 23 OCT 2022
  • Scottish Daily Express
Detective Hastings, played by Adrian Dunbar, from Line of Duty, a show about police officers investigating bent coppers

Police Scotland officers and complaints about the force are being investigated by 40 former police officers who served in different parts of the UK.

The Scottish Daily Express can reveal that the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner, an executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government, currently has 40 ex-police officers and retired officers to conduct its investigations.

The police watchdog responded to a Freedom of Information request, where it disclosed the numbers of ex-police employed.

It is also responsible for investigating complaints by members of the public against Police Scotland as well as the Scottish operations of the National Crime Agency, British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Ministry of Defence Police, and HM Revenue and Customs.

The request was sent in by Alexandra Gallagher a member of Police Scotland’s Angel, a voluntary body that ensures the police are following correct procedure.

Police Scotland officers referred to the police watchdog will be investigated by former police officers of differing ranks (Image: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

In the FOI dated October 11, it said: “I can confirm that we hold this information. The number of ex-police officers previously employed by any police force within the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland currently employed by PIRC is 40”.

The body previously disclosed in a Freedom of Information request in September this year that it employed 47 ex-police officers in total in the last five years.

Ms Gallagher, said: “In light of the recent report regarding the Metropolitan Police by Baroness Casey citing extensive cover ups and an in house code of silence.

“What chance does the public have if they are compelled to have any faith in the system of police complaints as they the very agencies such as The PIRC in Scotland are operating under the ruse that they are independent but have a staff base of 40 ex police working as police investigators.”

Recently, latest figures presented to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the body with oversight of policing in Scotland, show that while there were four complaints of sexual misconduct by police officers and staff in 2021, that figure soared to 29 in the past year.

Complaints that reach an unsatisfactory conclusion can be referred to the PIRC where the police will be investigated by former police constables and other, potentially higher, ranking police officers that served in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The PIRC is currently investigating complaints by former footie ace Lee Makel that Gareth Blair “influenced” the investigation into an abusive text sent to Makel.

Blair was caught “romping” with Makel’s ex-wife at an Edinburgh Park and ride. It will also investigate the death of John McNab who died in A887 crash near Inverness-shire after police found him dead in the car two days despite a 999 call.

A PIRC spokeswoman said: “The PIRC seeks to attract employees from diverse backgrounds with the appropriate and relevant skills. In light of the Lady Elish Angiolini review into Police Complaints handling, investigations and misconduct, steps have been made to respond to the recommendations made regarding the employment of former police officers.

“Former officers comprise 51 per cent of the staff composition within the operational investigations and reviews teams in PIRC. Our staff operate completely independent of the policing bodies over which we have oversight, acting with integrity to provide trust and confidence in the system of Police Investigations and Complaints Handling.”