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Ross calls for overhaul of ‘broken’ police complaints system following chief constable statement

Douglas Ross has called for an overhaul of the “broken” officer complaints system after Police Scotland chief constable Iain Livingstone admitted the force was “institutionally discriminatory and racist”.

At First Minister’s Questions, the Scottish Conservative leader said the problem in Police Scotland was “systemic” and the complaints processes were “not fit for purpose” and “letting down frontline officers”.

He also urged the SNP Government to deliver extra resources for Police Scotland and provide extra protection for whistleblowers who fear punishment if they raise legitimate concerns.

In response, Humza Yousaf said he would look at what more could be done but denied that the force was being asked to do too much with too little.

During the exchange, Douglas Ross highlighted a Scottish Police Authority report which found “significant concerns about the absence of effective performance management systems during the first decade of Police Scotland’s existence”.

The review added: “The greatest challenge we heard, and observed, to driving cultural change within the service was the pressures on frontline resourcing.”

The report also noted: “We heard of people being ‘punished’ for raising issues or concerns.”

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross said: “The vast majority of Scotland’s frontline police officers do a fantastic job under incredible pressures. My wife is one of them.

“But a new report from the Scottish Police Authority raises a number of serious systemic issues throughout Police Scotland. The problem here is wide, it is systemic. It starts far away from the frontline, with the management and leadership.

“Urgent action must be taken to overhaul how Police Scotland handles legitimate complaints from within the force. My party has raised officers’ real concerns about the broken police complaints system for some time. It is not fit for purpose.

“Nobody should feel fear when raising concerns. That’s clearly unacceptable. Officers should be able to raise legitimate issues without suffering any consequences.

“Scotland’s police officers also need more funding from the government. The lack of resources they receive is limiting Police Scotland’s ability to change its culture and leaving the thousands of first-class officers without the support they need to do their job.

“Scotland’s police officers are being asked to do too much with too little."