Police Scotland has upheld 12 sexual harassment complaints against staff


ALMOST 30 Police Scotland staff have been accused of sexual harassment since the force was created – a dozen of whom have so far been found guilty.

Since 2013, the force has investigated 28 sexual harassment complaints against officers and civilian staff.

The allegations include verbal, physical and non-physical sexual harassment such as sending letters and emails of a sexual nature.

Six cases of sexual harassment are still currently being investigated at Police Scotland.

Eighteen of the complaints were made by members of the public and 10 by employees of Police Scotland.

Ten of the allegations were dismissed, 12 upheld and six are still being investigated, the force revealed in a Freedom of Information request.

Documents show that out of the 12 complaints found proved, four resulted in the accused resigning, four were given formal warnings, three were given “corrective advice” and one was dismissed.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said: “It’s important all public bodies deal with cases of sexual harassment seriously.

“Given Police Scotland are in charge of enforcing the law, it’s particularly important to ensure any such allegations are dealt with properly.”

The union Unison represents some of the civilian staff at Police Scotland and a spokeswoman for Scottish Trade Union Congress said they weren’t surprised about the complaints.

She said: “Sexual harassment is something which permeates every workplace, every sector, and every industry, so we are unfortunately not surprised about these complaints against Police Scotland.”

Graeme Pearson, a former Labour MSP and former head of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, predicted that only “the reckless” among Police Scotland staff would now engage in sexual harassment.

He said: “The confirmed outcomes indicate the organisation is taking these complaints seriously given that five members of staff have left the service through either resignation or dismissal.

“I feel sure these disposals will have been noted across Police Scotland going forward resulting in only the reckless engaging in any forms of harassment in the future.”

Mr Pearson, who is now chief executive of Scotland in Union, added: “I think the report indicates Police Scotland has an awareness of issues around sexual harassment both in the workplace and as it affects the public coming into contact with their staff.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said: “It is essential that the police are holding themselves to the highest standards and ensuring that any such allegations are promptly and diligently investigated and action taken where necessary.

“Officers and the public need to have full confidence that such reports are fully investigated.”

Police Scotland are embroiled in a series of serious disciplinary allegations made against their staff including their £214,000-per-year Chief Constable Phil Gormley.

Mr Gormley, 54, has been on gardening leave since September after multiple bullying claims were made against him.

Earlier this week, it emerged that Mr Gormley is now facing a sixth complaint following a ‘misconduct’ allegation from a senior civilian worker.

The single force is being run by Mr Gormley’s deputy Iain Livingstone who cancelled his retirement plans last year to take over while the investigation is ongoing.

Chief Superintendent Mark Hargreaves today said: “Police Scotland treats all such allegations extremely seriously, and when received, a full and thorough investigation is carried out.

“Where officers or staff have been found to have fallen below the accepted standards of professional behaviour this is addressed in line with the relevant procedures.”