For­mer head of po­lice watch­dog to face MSPs’ ques­tions over Chief Con­sta­ble row

The Herald - - POLITICS - TOM GOR­DON

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.

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