External force to look into ‘unprofessional’ conduct in former Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency

Written by Jenni Davidson on 21 May 2019 in News

The review will look at a complaint raised by a whistleblower over undercover policing operations in 2011

Chief Constable Iain Lvingstone - Image credit: David Anderson/Holyrood

An external police force will be called in to look into “unsatisfactory and unprofessional” conduct at the former Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency (SCDEA).

The police force will be asked to review an internal investigation into the use of undercover policing at the now defunct agency.

Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone said he was “entirely satisfied” that the internal review was a “thorough, robust and appropriate response”.

However, he added that he recognised there was “legitimate interest” in events of 2011 and it was important to have “public confidence in the vital area of covert policing”.

The misconduct claim relates to a recent civil case brought by a former SCDEA undercover officer who claimed she was mistreated by the agency after she raised concerns that a colleague had compromised covert operations.

She told the court she had discovered concerning documents in a covert mailbox which was operated by a fellow sergeant.

After sharing her concerns with a senior officer, she went back to a premises she had been using as and office and discovered it had been ransacked and some of the documents had been shredded.

She and a colleague were told to buy a garden incinerator and petrol to destroy documents.

An internal investigation was launched and as part of it the woman was questioned by detectives over two and a half days, which the officer said left her feeling "degraded".

She was then told she was being suspended from her role as an undercover officer and moved to work in witness protection.

The officer, known as Mrs K, retired from Police Scotland on the grounds of ill health in 2013.

She won damages from former Police Scotland chief constable Sir Stephen House in the civil case, which concluded in January 2019.

Livingstone said: “The purpose of this independent peer review is to ensure all legitimate enquiries have been carried out, and to identify whether there are any further lines of investigation which should be pursued.

“On completion and receipt of the peer review, I will determine what steps, if any, are required to ensure the integrity of the Police Scotland response and provide further public reassurance over this episode.”

The Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency no longer exists as it was absorbed into Police Scotland in 2013.

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