Former Police Scotland chief ‘handed new role’ after misconduct claims

PA

The former chief constable of Police Scotland, who quit amid bullying claims, has reportedly been given a new role inspecting forces in England and Wales.

Phil Gormley, who resigned in February amid ongoing investigations into the allegations, will be announced as an inspector of constabulary south of the border, the BBC said.

He denied any wrongdoing, and resigned after saying it would have been “impossible for me to resume my duties in a meaningful way prior to the end of my contract”.

Phil Gormley
Phil Gormley

The role will see Mr Gormley assess and report on the efficiency and effectiveness of 12 police forces in the north of England and will start on October 22, the broadcaster reported.

Mr Gormley, formerly chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary, was investigated by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) over allegations of bullying.

The conduct, which was the subject of one of the allegations, would – if proved – amount to “gross misconduct”, the commissioner said.

All misconduct investigations regarding Mr Gormley were closed following his resignation.

The former force chief, who became a police constable in Thames Valley in 1985, has held a string of top jobs in policing, including deputy director general of the National Crime Agency between 2013 and 2015.

He was Chief Constable of Norfolk for three years from 2010, and Deputy Chief Constable of West Midlands Police from 2007.

Phil Gormley
Phil Gormley

From 2003 to 2007 he was a Commander in the Metropolitan Police, including overseeing special branch at a time when the shadowy Special Demonstration Squad was in operation.

The unit employed controversial tactics including officers using the identities of dead children and having serious relationships with members of groups they were spying on.

Mr Gormley has denied any knowledge of the methods, which are now the major focus of a public inquiry into undercover policing.

If confirmed, his new role would be with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

The body is headed by HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services Sir Tom Winsor.

Phil Gormley
Phil Gormley

In addition, there are currently four HM Inspectors of Constabulary. Mr Gormley would be the only HM Inspector to have worked as a police officer.

The HMICFRS website said that inspectors are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Home Secretary and Prime Minister.

As independent holders of public office under the Crown, appointed under Royal Warrant, they are neither civil servants nor police officers.

Mr Gormley’s predecessor as chief of Police Scotland Sir Stephen House also left the job amid controversy over the death of a woman who was left critically injured in a car wreck for three days.

Sir Stephen House exited in 2015 following outrage over the deaths of Lamara Bell, 25, and her partner John Yuill, 28, who lay undiscovered in a vehicle near Stirling despite a call from a member of the public.

He was brought to Scotland Yard in March to tackle disclosure of evidence as several hundred rape cases were reviewed by the force.

It was announced earlier this month that he will become Deputy Commissioner in the New Year.