Scottish police chief faces scrutiny of conduct
A SCOTTISH police chief faces renewed scrutiny after a councillor said he had “deep reservations” about the management of Tayside Police.
Justine Curran, the chief constable of the force, was recently hit by anonymous accusations about her conduct from a group calling itself the “loyal staff of Tayside Police”.
She was backed by a meeting of the Tayside Police Joint Board, who said this week there was “no case to answer”.
But Angus councillor Bill Bowles said he had received similar anonymous complaints from officers and had “deep reservations” over the running of the force.
Despite police board convener Councillor Jimmy Black said the chief constable had the board’s full backing, Cllr Bowles said the controversy was far from over.
Cllr Bowles said: “I think that Jimmy Black is a little bit presumptuous with his statement that the Tayside Police Joint Board back the chief constable 100% and that there was a unanimous vote of confidence in her.
“I, for one, have deep reservations regarding the management of Tayside Police.
“I have received a number of correspondences from serving officers of Tayside Police expressing a number of complaints and issues.”
He continued: “I have forwarded these letters and emails to the convener of the Tayside Joint Police Board for his inquiry.
“Unfortunately these letters and emails are and remain anonymous.
“At Monday’s meeting it was deemed by some parties that as the allegations against Ms Curran were anonymous, they carried little or no weight, especially when leaked to the press.”
The councillor said he defended the rights of whistleblowers within the police.
He said: “While I agree that going to press with an anonymous complaint is not the way to get action, I have real sympathy with serving officers and staff wishing to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions in career prospects.”
Cllr Bowles called for those who made the allegations anonymously to come forward so a proper inquiry could be carried out.
He said: “I will keep their details strictly confidential and will endeavour top ensure that a full, honest and transparent investigation is carried out.”
The police board convener said he saw no reason for an investigation after Monday’s meeting.
Responding to cllr Bowles’ comments, he said: “Firstly there was no vote and Councillor Bowles did not oppose the course of action which we followed.
“Secondly I would support Councillor Bowles in his call to anyone with anything to tell us to come forward, to give their names and provide a proper statement.
“Thirdly, I stand by my statement that I have absolute confidence in the chief constable and I have to say that these allegations are becoming tiresome.
“I think it would be better for everyone if she were just allowed to get on with her job.”
Chief Constable Curran, 45, is the only woman in the running to lead the single Scottish police force next year.
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