Behaviour of anti-corruption police ‘shocking’

Constable Andrew Reid was acquitted earlier this year of data protection offences. Picture: John Devlin
Constable Andrew Reid was acquitted earlier this year of data protection offences. Picture: John Devlin
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AN OFFICER acquitted of illegally accessing confidential files has called on a watchdog to interview him as part of its review of Police Scotland’s controversial counter-corruption practices.

Constable Andrew Reid, 39, was acquitted earlier this year of data protection offences in a case which cost the taxpayer £500,000.

Reid and his former partner, Constable Amanda Daly, were accused of breaching data protection laws in 2009.

But their trial collapsed in January after a sheriff said there was no case to answer.

Reid claims that officers from the counter-corruption unit threatened his colleagues and detained his elderly mother during their investigation.

He is now involved in an employment tribunal and plans to leave the force.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) is currently reviewing Police Scotland’s counter-corruption practices after Interception of Communications Commissioner Sir Stanley Burnton ruled that the force had breached data rules in an attempt to unmask a journalist’s source.

Reid called on HMICS to interview officers who have been targeted by the counter-corruption unit.

He said: “The way the counter corruption unit has been treating police officers for years is disgusting.

“If they interviewed police officers they would get a true picture, but they won’t do that because the true picture is so inconvenient.

“They’ve had five years and dozens of letters of complaint (to speak to me) but no-one bothered their backside.

“The way I was treated was shocking, but I’ve heard stories from other police officers that make my story look like a nursery rhyme.

“Some of the things they have done to some of my colleagues is beyond ridiculous.”

Reid claims that officers attached to the force’s professional standards department hacked into his mobile phone.

He has lodged a complaint against the force through his lawyer, Aamer Anwar.

“The whole professional standards situation is not right,” he added.

“If you are a member of the public and make a complaint against a police officer, it gets investigated by professional standards. If you complain about the professional standards department, there’s no-one to investigate it.

“They’re the only department in the police that investigates itself.”

The breaches identified by Sir Stanley followed media reports about failures during the investigation into the unsolved murder of prostitute Emma Caldwell in 2005.

Sir Stanley said Police Scotland had obtained communications data to uncover a journalist’s source or the “communications of those suspected to have been acting as intermediaries between a journalist and a suspected source”.

He said four people had been “adversely affected” by the contraventions.

Last week, former police officer Gerry Gallacher said he had been one of those spied on.

The retired detective had previously raised serious concerns about the police inquiry into Emma Caldwell’s murder.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland ordered the case to be re-investigated earlier this year after media reports about a possible suspect.

Following the publication of Sir Stanley’s report, the Scottish Police Authority said it had asked HMICS to carry out a review of the “effectiveness and efficiency” of Police Scotland’s counter-corruption practices.

Justice secretary Michael Matheson has promised that the review will be “thorough” and “in depth”.

The final report is expected to be submitted in the spring.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “HMICS has been asked to carry out a review of counter-corruption within Police Scotland and we will fully co-operate with that work.”