Ex-Police Scotland boss heads to Met to tackle disclosure issue

Scotland Yard Commissioner Cressida Dick has brought a senior officer out of retirement to deal with the outcry over disclosure of evidence.

Sir Steve House, former Chief Constable of Police Scotland, who has also previously served with the Metropolitan Police, is being brought in as it reviews hundreds of cases that could be affected by the issue.

Forces across the country are looking again at thousands of rape prosecutions in the wake of claims that officers may not have given all relevant evidence to defence teams.

This follows the case of student Liam Allan, 22, whose trial collapsed when it emerged that messages which cast doubt on the claims against him had not been provided to his lawyers.

A statement from Scotland Yard about the new appointment said: "One of his key initial tasks will be to co-ordinate the Met's response to the challenges raised recently in respect of disclosure policy and practice."

In the past week Chief Constables Sara Thornton and Nick Ephgrave have both said officers may have to make greater use of artificial intelligence to sift through massive amounts of data that form part of investigations, to aid the disclosure process.

Mr Ephgrave, who leads training body the College of Policing, said: "Longer term, we must must pursue how technology, particularly artificial intelligence, can help us deal with the expanse of digital material more quickly and efficiently."

Sir Steve is due to take up his Assistant Commissioner post on March 5, at a time when the capital's police force has officer numbers at its lowest for decades and crime figures are rising.

Ms Dick said: "There is a huge amount of transformation taking place within the Met and at the same time we are dealing with rising demand and big operational challenges.

"Steve has a strong track record in tackling violent crime - particularly domestic violence, knife and gang crime - both within the Met and then with huge success in Scotland."

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