Explainer: Why is Phil Gormley being investigated?

Chief Constable Phil Gormley went on leave earlier this month after a second complaint against him was passed to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).

Phil Gormley is being investigated by the Pirc
Phil Gormley is being investigated by the Pirc

Yesterday it emerged a third complaint has been referred to investigators by the Scottish Police Authority.

Mr Gormley, a former deputy director of the National Crime Agency, was appointed to Police Scotland’s top job in December 2015.

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The national force, which was formed in April 2013, had endured a turbulent couple of years under Mr Gormley’s predecessor, Sir Stephen House, and it was hoped the new chief constable would help steady the ship.

But it has continued to be mired in controversy, most recently with the complaints against the chief constable himself.

The first allegations emerged this summer following a bullying complaint against Mr Gormley by Superintendent Graham Mc­Inarlin.

That was followed by a separate complaint from Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, a member of the force executive and a former divisional commander for Edinburgh.

A third complaint, from Inspector Aimee Canavan, was passed to the Pirc yesterday.

The first two complaints are being investigated by the watchdog and, if proved, would amount to gross misconduct.

The third complaint is currently being assessed by the Pirc, which is yet to decide if it warrants a formal investigation.

Mr Gormley, who continues to receive his £214,000 salary, was granted his request for leave by the SPA earlier this month.

The SPA is continuing to keep that decision under review.

In his absence, the force is being led by Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone who has withdrawn a request to take early retirement.