Police Scotland deputy chief delays retirement amid probe

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Designate Iain Livingstone has postponed his plans to retire while allegations of gross misconduct against the chief constable are investigated.
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone. Picture: Colin HattersleyDeputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone. Picture: Colin Hattersley

Chief constable Phil Gormley has been granted ‘’special leave’’ while two allegations are investigated.

Mr Livingstone had planned to retire in the autumn but now intends to remain in post “for the foreseeable future”, saying he considers it his duty to remain in service.

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Mr Livingstone, the most senior of the service’s three deputy chief constables, is taking over leadership of Police Scotland until further notice.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) confirmed on Friday it was investigating a new allegation of gross misconduct by Mr Gormley, in addition to one announced in July.

Mr Livingstone has written to the chair of the Scottish Police Authority and the Justice Secretary to confirm he will remain in the post.

He said: “Having discussed the matter at length with my wife, family and others, I intend to continue in post for the foreseeable future.

“Given the uncertainty and challenges currently facing Police Scotland, I consider it my duty to remain in service.

“My focus now will be on ensuring that we continue to deliver day-to-day policing services to the people of Scotland and on providing the leadership and assurance that is needed at this time.

“We have a strong and resilient command team in place and we have thousands of dedicated and hard-working police officers and staff who remain committed to providing an excellent service to the people of Scotland.”

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Mr Gormley said the latest complaint was raised by a member of the Force Executive, Police Scotland’s senior management team.

The team comprises officers ranked at Assistant Chief Constable and higher, the force’s deputy chief officer and the director of ICT.

Both complaints were referred to Pirc following a preliminary assessment by the SPA, the oversight body for the force.

The chief constable, who denies both allegations, faced calls to temporarily stand aside when the initial complaint was revealed but remained in post until the second accusation emerged.

He said in a statement: “I have been notified by the SPA of a complaint made against me. This complaint originates from a member of the Force Executive.

“In the interests of the office of chief constable and the broader interests of Police Scotland, I have sought and been granted special leave to enable this matter to be properly assessed.

“I deny and reject the allegations and will co-operate with the SPA’s assessment and procedures. It is my intention to resume my full duties when this matter has been resolved.”

No information was given regarding the nature either of complaint, but if a serious breach of standards is found, Mr Gormley could face dismissal.

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The SPA confirmed it had agreed to Mr Gormley’s request for a temporary leave of absence and said this will be kept under review on a four-weekly basis.

Pirc said once each investigation is concluded it will submit a report to the SPA on whether the allegations should be referred to a misconduct hearing.