A THIRD of Scots police officers believe a culture of bullying exists within the force, a new survey has revealed.
Recent figures suggest a dramatic decline in staff morale, with up to one in ten middle-ranking officers saying they felt intimidated, unfairly criticised or verbally insulted while at work.
A staggering 85% of officers believe there are “cliques and in-crowds” within the force, while 37% say there is bullying from the chief officer team towards the lower ranks.
Last year, research showed that a constable was reduced to tears after failing to carry out enough stop and searches while other officers were shouted at by their sergeants over the same issue.
Politicians are now calling for an independent inquiry into the findings, which were the result of an annual survey by the Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS).
Sir Stephen House, the chief constable of Police Scotland, and the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) are being urged to “get to the bottom” of the claims.
Meanwhile, serving police officers have suggested that ministers commission a review into the bullying allegations that were raised at NHS Lothian in 2012.
The NHS board was ordered to carry out a full review after a report by PwC warned of a culture of bullying.
Nicola Sturgeon, who was health minister at the time, said there was “no place” for such behaviour and demanded the review included scrutiny of the attitudes of senior management.
Following the recent report Niven Rennie, ASPS president, has called for issues within the service to be “addressed as a matter of urgency”.
Alison McInnes, justice spokeswoman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has also said that any bullying must be “challenged unequivocally”.
She said: “In 2012, Nicola Sturgeon said there was ‘no place’ for a bullying culture in the NHS when an incident report criticised this in NHS Lothian.
“SNP minister and the SPA should seek assurances that this does not now exist in Police Scotland.
“Bullying in any place and at any time must be challenged unequivocally.”
She added that Police Scotland is “finally conducting an organisation-wide employee survey and it is important that it gets to the bottom of these claims.”
A spokeswoman for the SPA said the results would be “taken seriously”.
She said: “The SPA and Police Scotland treat any allegations of bullying within our organisations seriously.
“Officers and staff are encouraged to report incidents either directly to human resources or via a confidential reporting mechanism.
“All allegations reported will be thoroughly investigated.”