Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes MSP has warned that that a revealing exchange of emails between officials at Police Scotland and the Scottish Information Commissioner risks seriously undermining public confidence in Scotland’s national force.
In a series of e-mail correspondence published by the Information Commissioner’s office today, claims by the Chief Constable that they were compelled to release the information and that they warned previously about inaccuracies were rebutted by fact.
The publication follows calls made at the weekend by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie for the exchanges to be made public.
Commenting, Ms McInnes said:
“This exchange of emails, released by the Information Commissioner, rebuts each and every point the Chief Constable used in his defence at the SPA.
“He said the Scottish Information Commissioner compelled Police Scotland to publish stop and search information. This exchange makes clear that the release wasn't ordered.
“Police Scotland did not resist this, nor did they seek to make their case in the courts. Contrary to the Chief Constable's claims, the national force voluntarily released this information.
“The national force spent months correcting stop and search data prior to its release. When it was finally released to the BBC, Police Scotland gave no indication whatsoever of further inaccuracies surrounding the consensual search of children.
“And yet, it is evident that Police Scotland's story changed utterly between it dispensing the information on 23 January and their giving evidence to the SPA on Friday 13 February. Parliament and the SPA is owed an honest explanation for this sorry mess. This seriously risks undermining public confidence in Scotland's national force."