Former head of police watchdog to face MSPs’ questions over Chief Constable row
THE former chairman of Police Scotland’s oversight body is to tell MSPs his side of the story in the row over the Chief Constable.
Andrew Flanagan, who was head of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) board until last month, will give evidence to Holyrood’s public audit committee on January 25.
In a potentially explosive session, the committee is expected to ask about a disputed meeting last November between Mr Flanagan and Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.
The two men discussed the future of Chief Consta- ble Phil Gormley, who has been on special leave since September, following complaints of bullying and misconduct against him.
On November 7, Mr Flanagan and the SPA board agreed unanimously Mr Gormley should be allowed to return to duty despite an ongoing bullying probe.
On November 9, just a day before Mr Gormley was due back at his desk, Mr Flanagan told Mr Matheson of the board’s decision and Mr Matheson urged the SPA to “reconsider”.
Mr Flanagan subsequently told Mr Gormley, who was at that point en route from his house in Norfolk to Scotland, to turn around and go back home.
Accused of exceeding his powers, the Justice Secretary this week insisted he had not over-ruled the SPA, but admitted asking for a rethink of a flawed process. The SPA meeting with Mr Matheson was not minuted.