Kenny MacAskill calls on Chief Constable Phil Gormley to quit

Kenny MacAskill wants Phil Gormley to "go quietly"
Kenny MacAskill wants Phil Gormley to "go quietly"
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Former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has called on Police Scotland's chief constable to step down even if he is cleared of any wrongdoing.

Phil Gormley is currently on a leave of absence while the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) examines three separate bullying complaints from colleagues.

A fourth complaint is currently being assessed by the Scottish Police Authority.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Mr MacAskill said Mr Gormley's position was now "untenable", adding that the chief was doing "reputational damage" to the force by staying on.

• READ MORE: Phil Gormley to stay on leave while bullying allegations investigated

He said: "Natural justice dictates that some due process has to be gone through but the whole situation has become rather unedifying.

"In any position, whether as a politician or a senior police officer, when you become the story, your position becomes untenable."

Commenting on the SPA's decision to extend Mr Gormley's period of leave, Mr MacAskill said there was currently "no alternative".

He added: "This is the time where Mr Gormley should be reviewing his position and if he doesn't, someone should be having a word in his ear.

"It has to be the new chair of the SPA, it has to be their call. Nothing has been proven. Mr Gormley has a long and distinguished career south of the border and actually did quite a good job stabilising the ship when he came here."

• READ MORE: Chief Constable Phil Gormley facing fourth complaint

Asked if Mr Gormley should go even if exonerated due to the perception created by the investigations into his conduct, Mr MacAskill said: "Absolutely because I think there's reputational damage to the police. Whatever the outcome, even if the allegations are shown to be false or without substance, there has been damage to him and that's impacting on the reputation of the service.

"For the good of the police service in Scotland, there needs to be stability at the top and there can't be while he is there. I would hope that he will be reflecting on his position and steps will be taken in due course to thank him for his service to date and begin a search for his successor."