Police Scotland: Stephen House exit not down to M9 report

Sir Stephen House has brought forward his expected departure from Police Scotland and will leave his post in December. Picture: PA
Sir Stephen House has brought forward his expected departure from Police Scotland and will leave his post in December. Picture: PA
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POLICE Scotland has denied suggestions Chief Constable Sir Stephen House quit after learning details of a review set up following the M9 tragedy.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) is expected to publish its report into police call handling on Thursday.

The review was established following the deaths of Lamara Bell and John Yuill after their car crashed on the M9 last month.

It took rescuers three days to find the vehicle after a police call handler failed to properly log a call from a member of the public.

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick and Assistant Chief Constable Val Thomson were given a briefing on the HMICS report on Tuesday, two days before Sir Stephen announced his resignation.

It is understood the finished report will make at least one recommendation for the force when it is handed over to justice secretary Michael Matheson.

Police sources said they expected there would also be stinging criticism of the force from the inspectorate.

A separate inquiry by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) is looking into the circumstances of the crash itself.

It has also emerged that the justice secretary intends to make a statement on policing matters in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

And a long-awaited report on police stop and search from an advisory group led by human rights lawyer John Scott will be handed to the minister on Monday.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland yesterday, an anonymous whistleblower said the force was continuing to deal with problems in its control rooms nearly two months on from the M9 crash.

He said: “They are completely hoodwinking the public into believing that everything is rosy in the garden with Police Scotland.

“Police Scotland as far as I’m concerned is on its knees. I know for a fact, having spoken to some of my colleagues in the control rooms, that treble nine calls are still not being actioned, so they are not being resourced and members of the public are not being given the service that they deserve.”

Labour justice spokesman Graeme Pearson, a former deputy chief constable with Strathclyde Police, said the Scottish Government had to “get a grip” on the problems within Police Scotland.

He said: “The first step in doing that is full transparency, so that the force can begin to regain some of the public trust it has lost in recent months.

“It was only a matter of weeks ago that the First Minister and the justice minister said they had full confidence in Sir Stephen and Police Scotland. They have an opportunity now to get a grip. That has to start with the publication of the staff survey and any other reviews the service has commissioned.

“Officers and staff are now coming forward with alarming frequency to say that the police service is not operating as it should be.”