Police Scotland chief Phil Gormley to stay in post while complaint against him investigated

Written by Jenni Davidson on 28 July 2017 in News

An allegation of misconduct against Gormley is being investigated by PIRC

Chief Constable Phil Gormley - Image credit: Andrew Cowan

Police Scotland chief constable Phil Gormley will not be suspended while investigations into his conduct are carried, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) has said.

Yesterday, it emerged that the police investigations and review commissioner (PIRC) had been asked by the SPA to investigate a complaint against him.

PIRC has said that, if proved, it would constitute gross misconduct.


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Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie had called for Gormley to step aside while the investigation was ongoing, saying previous cases had “set a precedent”.

He said: “As Police Scotland seeks to recover from the chaos of the last few years it needs a Chief Constable with the authority to assist with that recovery. 

“These allegations of gross misconduct are incredibly serious and require a thorough and prompt investigation.

“For that investigation to be conducted effectively it will be necessary for the Chief Constable to seek leave of absence from his post.  Any leave of absence should not imply acceptance of guilt.

“Previous cases in Scotland and other parts of the UK have set a precedent, where the person who has been under investigation has temporarily stepped aside.”

However, the SPA has confirmed that Gormley will remain in  post during the investigation.

Deputy chair of the SPA board Nicola Marchant said: “Following confirmation yesterday that the PIRC will carry out an investigation into allegations about the Chief Constable referred to them by the SPA chief executive, the SPA board today convened a meeting with the CEO to consider the question of whether any measures, such as a suspension, are required.

“At this stage, and having carefully considered and balanced the various investigatory and public interest criteria within the regulations, the SPA takes the view that a suspension is not appropriate.

“As with any process of this nature, that is an issue we will keep under review.

“While complaints and conduct issues relating to senior officers are handled within a clear set of guidelines and procedures, the circumstances behind each case are different and so therefore should any consideration of whether a period of suspension is appropriate.

“We welcome the public commitment by the Chief Constable that he will cooperate fully with the PIRC and provide all necessary assistance.

“This sends a clear signal of intent, and we have no doubts that this is also the full expectation of the PIRC investigators.

“While we recognise the visibility and keen interest that comes with any allegation relating to an individual of this seniority, it is important for all those involved for the investigative process to be allowed to progress with diligence, proportionality and confidentiality.

“In due course, and subject to appropriate dialogue with the parties at the time, SPA would take the view that it is in the public interest that there should then be a public communication on the outcomes of this process.”

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