MORE than 100 police officers in Scotland are convicted criminals, new figures have revealed.
Some officers have been found guilty of racial crimes, assault, attempting to pervert the course of justice and even firearms offences.
Figures show that more than 140 serving officers have criminal offences.
And the actual figures are likely to be much higher as two of the eight Scottish forces – Tayside and Lothian and Borders – were unable to supply data.
The majority of officers with convictions have committed motoring offences like speeding.
But others have committed more serious crimes including racial breach of the peace, drink driving, theft and failing to report an accident.
Two officers were also found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Scottish Conservative justice spokesman John Lamont said: “Many people will be uneasy knowing local officers may be hiding a racial offence conviction.
“Police officers are only human and it is understandable there will be some with convictions for minor offences.
“However, some of the other offences – which are more serious – give cause for alarm.”
Some of the convictions held by police officers have been committed before they joined the police force.
There are no central guidelines when it comes to recruiting officers who have a criminal past or whether serving officers who break the law should lose their jobs.
Each case is considered on its merits by individual forces.
Labour justice spokeswoman Johann Lamont said: “Perhaps this is one area where a single national police force would be of benefit.
“We’d have a clear policy on these issues for the entire country.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We believe deputy chief constables are best placed to make decisions on whether a criminal conviction would bring discredit to the police service having considered all the attendant circumstances.”
Deputy Chief Constable John McNab, chairman of professional standards for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said: “The police service expects good conduct and probity from its officers and staff at all times.
“It should be remembered that there are just over 17,000 police officers in Scotland. It is very rare that a person with a criminal conviction will be recruited.
“Where an officer has committed misconduct, which can include a criminal offence, a range of disciplinary actions can be taken.
“Each case is judged on its merit. The force will then take action depending on a range of factors including the severity of the offence and its impact on an officer’s ability to carry out their duties.”