Third gross misconduct probe launched against Police Scotland chief constable

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A third probe into gross misconduct allegations against Police Scotland's chief constable has been launched by independent investigators.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) confirmed it is investigating the further allegation about Phil Gormley, who is currently on special leave while two other allegations of gross misconduct are being considered.

The confirmation comes after the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) referred the third matter to the Pirc last week.

The commissioner has assessed the conduct which is the subject of the allegation would, if proved, amount to "gross misconduct".

The announcement from Pirc comes as it emerged a fourth complaint of bullying has been made against the Chief Constable.

Mr Gormley was given notice on Monday that the allegations will be investigated, Pirc confirmed. The two other separate misconduct probes remain ongoing.

Once each investigation is concluded, the commissioner will send reports to the SPA in due course, summarising the evidence and providing an opinion on whether the allegations should be referred to a misconduct hearing.

In a statement, the Pirc said: "The Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (Pirc) is investigating further allegations of gross misconduct about the Chief Constable.

"Following a referral by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) on Wednesday 27 September 2017, the commissioner has assessed that the conduct which is the subject of the allegation would, if proved, amount to gross misconduct."

Phil Gormely took Scottish policing's top job in January last year (Jane Barlow/PA)
Phil Gormely took Scottish policing's top job in January last year (Jane Barlow/PA)

It went on: "As all three investigations are live it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

Mr Gormely, who took over the top job in Scottish policing in January 2016, went on special leave in early September after it emerged a second complaint of gross misconduct against him had been made by a member of the Force Executive, Police Scotland's senior management team.

That team is made up of officers of the rank of Assistant Chief Constable and higher, the force's deputy chief officer and the director of ICT.

The first complaint of gross misconduct was announced in July, with Mr Gormley denying the allegations.

On Monday, the Daily Record reported a fourth complaint had been made against the chief constable.

The SPA declined to comment on the allegation, while Police Scotland is not commenting on the third investigation which is now a matter for Pirc.

In his last statement, issued when he stepped aside last month, Mr Gormley said: "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."

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has taken over leadership of Police Scotland until further notice.