Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes has this morning called for assurances that a review by HMICS into Police Scotland’s counter corruption practices will be published before the Scottish Parliament election in May 2016.
The force’s practices are being investigated by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) after revelations last week that officers flouted the law by attempting to access communications data without judicial approval.
The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) has requested the review be carried out and the body’s Chief Executive, John Foley, has said he hopes the final report will be available in spring 2016.
Speaking ahead of discussions today by the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee on the matter, Ms McInnes said:
“The revelations that Police Scotland was illegally involved in trying to uncover a journalist’s sources were outrageous, these were actions that put freedom of the press and freedom of speech in Scotland at stake.
“I welcome the news HMICS will carry out independent scrutiny of Police Scotland and its counter corruption practices. The review needs to be thorough and in-depth as this is a matter of huge public interest. But it must also be published as soon as possible, there can no unnecessary delay and HMICS must provide assurances it can keep to the timeframe asked for by the SPA.
“As well as calling for this report to be published as soon as possible, I shall today be calling for the Justice Secretary to appear before committee.
"The Scottish Government knew Police Scotland flouted the law months ago – Mr Matheson needs to explain what exactly his government has done since then to ensure this can never happen again.”