Chief Constable 'Steps Aside' After New Complaint

8 September 2017, 14:05 | Updated: 8 September 2017, 14:08

The new man in charge of Police Scotland

Police Scotland's chief constable has been granted "special leave" while a complaint against him is investigated.

Phil Gormley said the grievance was raised by a member of the Force Executive.

In a statement he said: "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."

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the oversight body for the force, confirmed it had agreed to Mr Gormley's request for a temporary leave of absence.

The SPA said this will be kept under review on a four-weekly basis.

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone will take over leadership of Police Scotland until further notice, the authority said.

The Force Executive is Police Scotland's senior management team, and is made up of officers ranked at Assistant Chief Constable and higher, the force's deputy chief officer and the director of ICT.

It is understood that the complaint against Mr Gormley is separate to a probe by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc).

The chief constable confirmed in July that he is being investigated by PIRC over allegations of gross misconduct.

The investigation followed a referral by the SPA.

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

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie first called for Mr Gormley to stand aside when the Pirc investigation was confirmed.

At the time, the SPA ruled that temporarily removing him from his post was ''not appropriate''.

Mr Rennie said: "It has taken too long but Phil Gormley has made the right decision to temporarily stand aside and I commend him on that.

"The investigation needs to be completed effectively and swiftly so that Police Scotland can move on.

"There is a lot to fix in Police Scotland and we need effective leadership to fix it."