The Scotsman understands the latest complaint against Phil Gormley comes from Martin Leven, Police Scotland’s chief information officer. It is thought the allegation is part of a separate complaint made by Mr Leven against Deputy Chief Officer David Page – the force’s most senior civilian – last year.
The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) last night said it was assessing to determine whether an investigation is required.
Scotland’s most senior police officer is currently on leave while the Pirc carries out three separate investigations into alleged bullying. The latest complaint, which is understood to be the sixth made against the chief, would take the number of investigations to four, if a formal inquiry is deemed necessary.
Mr Gormley has rejected the existing allegations against him. His lawyer has described them as “vexatious” and “opportunistic”. The Pirc said in a statement: “The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner has received a referral from the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) regarding an allegation of misconduct about the chief constable.
“The commissioner is now assessing the allegation to determine whether the conduct, if proved, would amount to misconduct, gross misconduct or neither and to establish whether an investigation is required.
“Whilst this process is under way, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Mr Gormley, who has been on leave since September, continues to collect his £214,000-a-year salary.
It emerged last month the SPA had approved the chief constable’s return to work – without speaking to the Pirc – before an “intervention” by justice secretary Michael Matheson.
Yesterday it emerged the SPA also failed to contact Police Scotland ahead of Mr Gormley’s return, according to the man currently leading the force.
Speaking to Holyrood magazine, Acting Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said claims the SPA had made arrangements to support the welfare of all parties in the investigation were “not true”.
Mr Livingstone said he first saw a draft press release announcing Mr Gormley’s return when it was published earlier this week by the Scottish Parliament’s audit committee.
He said: “That is a draft press release that has not gone beyond Mr Gormley’s lawyers and the SPA, but it makes mention of me and it makes mention that the SPA had made arrangements to support the welfare of all involved parties.
“That’s not true.
“It may have been the intention to have made those arrangements, but it had not happened. That is categorical.”
Former SPA chairman Andrew Flanagan, who led the board when it approved Mr Gormley’s return, is due to give evidence to the audit committee next week.
Opposition parties have demanded Mr Matheson provide details of all of his and his civil servants’ communications in relation to Mr Gormley’s case.
The justice secretary has been criticised for asking the SPA to reconsider its decision to let Mr Gormley come back to work after he was put on special leave following bullying allegations.
Mr Gormley’s lawyer has accused Mr Matheson of acting unlawfully.
Mr Matheson last week defended his actions, saying the SPA had failed to provide reassurances that due process had been followed when making the decision.
It has also been revealed that formal minutes from the critical meeting between Mr Matheson and Mr Flanagan over the future of the chief constable in which the justice secretary was accused of interfering were not recorded.
Senior justice civil servant Paul Johnston also met separately with the chief constable in Edinburgh on 30 November.
The Scottish Government said the “brief” meeting at St Andrew’s House was to discuss the appointment of SPA chairwoman Susan Deacon.
However, a spokesperson for Mr Gormley’s legal team said: “At the meeting, my client restated his aim of returning to his position of chief constable.”