Police Scotland faces massive costs as union appeals judicial reviews over disciplinary issues
POLICE Scotland will rack up huge legal bills this month when the union that represents most of its officers forces it to defend two judicial reviews over disciplinary issues.
The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) is also pushing for an appeal in a third case to be heard by the UK Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court.
Sources say there is anger from the force hierarchy, which is harming the relationship with the union. One source said: “Police Scotland has tried to do what the public would expect when officers have fallen well short of the conduct expected.
“The federation is showing unbelievable arrogance by refusing to accept any consequences.”
The federation’s general secretary, Calum Steele, is also the subject of one of the cases.
On Wednesday, a judicial review will be heard at the Court of Session on Police Scotland’s efforts to discipline DCs Rachel Fulton and Alan Watt and DS David Patrick. The officers were probed over allegations linked to the 2017 murder of Frederick McGettigan.
The High Court in Glasgow heard claims that Kirk McIntyre, serving at least 20 years for the murder, got his victim’s address through police errors.
Chief Superintendent Andy McDowall said: “This has been paused as a result of a legal challenge.”
Steele won the right to judicial review this year and his case will be heard on April 29 and 30.
It involves a misconduct charge brought against him by Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Taylor relating to a Twitter post on a thread about Sheku Bayoh, who died during a police restraint near his home in Kirkcaldy in May 2015.
Steele, a police constable, declined to comment.
Police Scotland said: “We are aware of the case but it is not appropriate to comment.”
The SPF is also defending 10 officers who shared offensive comments and images on a WhatsApp group, which had cost Police Scotland almost £190,000 in legal fees by October last year.
Having lost the case at the Court of Session, the SPF is seeking leave to appeal to the UK’s highest court.
A federation spokesman said: “We support officers in various circumstances.”