Spy row officer to quit national force

DCC Neil Richardson, Designated Deputy for Chief Constable, has announced his intentions to step down  Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

DCC Neil Richardson, Designated Deputy for Chief Constable, has announced his intentions to step down Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

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A senior police officer at the centre of a spying row has announced his decision to step down from Scotland’s national force.

Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson will leave Police Scotland when his contract expires later this year.

Mr Richardson, who last year missed out on the chief constable’s job following the departure of Sir Stephen House, has found himself embroiled in controversy over Police Scotland’s attempts to unmask journalists’ sources.

Last year the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (Iocco) ruled the force had breached data guidelines by failing to seek judicial approval before attempting to find the source of a leak from the Emma Caldwell murder inquiry.

And comments Mr Richardson made on the subject when appearing before Holyrood’s justice committee were last week the subject of a complaint by a Police Scotland detective.

Detective Inspector David Moran said Mr Richardson made statements to MSPs that were “extremely injurious” to his reputation and had falsely identified him as the source of a newspaper article on the unsolved murder.

The complaint is now being investigated by the Scottish Police Authority.

Commenting on Mr Richardson’s decision to step down, Chief Constable Phil Gormley said: “Neil has served the communities of Scotland for over 30 years and has been a pivotal figure in the reform of policing and the creation of the single national Service. His contribution has been outstanding and that has been recognised with the award of the OBE and Queen’s Police Medal.”

DCC Richardson said: “I am extremely proud of what we have achieved in Police Scotland and privileged to have been able to play a part in what has been an historic change to policing in this country.”

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