Figures show 700 complaints made about Police Scotland officers

Allegations of sexual misconduct and attempts to pervert the course of justice are among nearly 700 complaints received by Police Scotland about its officers.

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A total of 683 notifications have been made to the force through various channels since February, including around more than 60 from its internal whistleblowing system.

The figures emerged ahead of an appearance by justice secretary Michael Matheson at a Police Scotland professional ethics conference in Tulliallan, Fife, today.

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Police Scotland overhauled its professional standards departments earlier this year after a series of controversies involving the force’s now defunct counter-corruption unit.

Figures provided to MSPs show the force has received 288 notifications raising concerns about “inappropriate associations”, a further 30 about the disclosure of information and 24 about the misuse of force systems. There were a small number of complaints relating to abuse of authority, drug use and supply and sexual misconduct.

As well as 63 from Integrity Matters, the force’s internal whistleblowing system, the notifications have been received from police officers, intelligence reports, Crimestoppers and members of the public.

Last week, the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said the low number of officers raising grievances showed a “fundamental lack of confidence” in the force’s complaints procedures.

The SPF, which represents the rank and file, said many officers were “scunnered” because their working conditions are regularly “disregarded and ignored”. It highlighted a recent staff survey in which only eight per cent of police officers said they believed the service was genuinely interested in their wellbeing.

In a written submission to Holyrood’s justice sub-committee on policing – which was taking evidence on Police Scotland’s procedures for internal complaints, including grievances and whistleblowing – SPF general secretary Calum Steele said: “Against this it is telling that so very few police officers raise grievances and rather than be considered as a sign of positivity, this suggests a fundamental lack of confidence in the processes that are there.

“At this time many police officers are simply ‘scunnered’.

“They experience their working conditions being regularly disregarded and ignored.”

Police Scotland did not respond to a request for comment last night.