The chair of a powerful committee of MPs has commended Police Scotland for releasing details of money earned from overseas work in countries including those with poor human rights records.
Chief Constable Phil Gormley said his force had received income totalling £1.8 million for its international work, including just over £1m for activities in Sri Lanka, South Sudan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He also revealed that Police Scotland has paid £76.5m in VAT since its formation in 2013.
The force is the only UK police force which cannot recover the tax as it is controlled by the Scottish Government and not a local authority.
Mr Gormley had agreed to provide the Home Affairs Select Committee with the details of Police Scotland’s overseas work following an appearance last month.
Despite much of the detail already being in the public domain, Keith Vaz, the chair of the committee, said the release stood in “stark contrast” to Foreign Office advice to the English College of Policing not to disclose the information. Under questioning last month, Mr Gormley said the provision of training to forces overseas was a way of “legitimately raising revenue” for his force.
In a letter to MPs published this week, he said: “In regard to our international work, I would firstly like to say that Police Scotland and its legacy forces and constabularies have been involved in international programmes since 1993.
“In the first three years of Police Scotland, the total amount of income received through these activities has been £1.8m. Our international work has been supported, facilitated and mostly paid for by successive UK and Scottish Government and others including UN-registered charities.”
Mr Gormley said his force had turned down a total of nine requests due to concerns over safety and security.
Mr Vaz said: “I am most grateful to Chief Constable Phil Gormley for providing this information.The committee supports the work of the two colleges abroad, in promoting the ‘brand’ of British policing, but if the details and value of contracts with countries with questionable human rights records are kept in the dark, we risk damaging the very brand which we intended to promote.”