Police Scotland chief ‘won’t be suspended’ over alleged bullying

Chief Constable Phil Gormley. 
Picture: Ian Rutherford
Chief Constable Phil Gormley. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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The chief constable of Police Scotland is facing a high-level investigation over allegations of bullying, but won’t be suspended despite calls to step aside.

A force watchdog has a launched a gross misconduct probe after claims were lodged against Phil Gormley, but the ranking authority says a suspension is ‘not appropriate’.

It is understood the allegations were made by another Police Scotland officer.

The powerful Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) will now investigate and pass on its findings to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), which has the power to launch a misconduct hearing.

In a statement released last night, Mr Gormley said: “I can confirm that today I was informed by the PIRC that I am the subject of a conduct investigation.

“I am cooperating fully with the PIRC and will provide all necessary assistance to bring this matter to a timely and satisfactory conclusion. In fairness to others who may be involved, it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this time.

“I would like to stress that I remain focussed on leading Police Scotland, ensuring that we continue to serve and protect the people of this country.”

The Pirc defines gross misconduct as “a breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour, as detailed in Schedule 1 of the 2013 Regulations, which is so serious that dismissal may be justified”.

The standards cover: honesty and integrity; authority, respect and courtesy; equality and diversity; use of force; orders and instructions; duties and responsibilities; confidentiality; fitness for duty; and discreditable conduct and challenging and reporting improper conduct.

Deputy Chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) Nicola Marchant said: “Following confirmation yesterday that the PIRC will carry out an investigation into allegations about the Chief Constable referred to them by the SPA Chief Executive, the SPA Board today convened a meeting with the CEO to consider the question of whether any measures, such as a suspension, are required.

“At this stage, and having carefully considered and balanced the various investigatory and public interest criteria within the regulations, the SPA takes the view that a suspension is not appropriate. As with any process of this nature, that is an issue we will keep under review.

“While complaints and conduct issues relating to senior officers are handled within a clear set of guidelines and procedures, the circumstances behind each case are different and so therefore should any consideration of whether a period of suspension is appropriate.