Police watchdog held to account over ‘shocking’ mismanagement

Former bosses of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) have been told appear before Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee to answer serious questions on “shocking” financial mismanagement.

Acting convener of the Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee, Jackie Baillie MSP, said: “I’ve been around politics a long time, but this is probably the most shocking example I’ve seen of financial mismanagement and poor judgement.

“When you consider the huge deficit the SPA faces, these eye-watering payments are just extraordinarily shocking.

“We must hear directly from those who were responsible for making these decisions. That’s why we’ve called for the former chair and chief executive of the SPA, and current board members, to come in front of the Committee to answer serious questions.”

Earlier this month, the public spending watchdog criticised the SPA for a record of poor governance and a lack of transparency.

Audit Scotland said that relocation expenses of £67,000 given to a deputy chief constable were not properly disclosed in the accounts and that his £53,000 personal tax liability was paid by the SPA.

Spending of £344,000 on three temporary posts was also highlighted in the report which said that the interim posts of chief financial officer and HR director had not provided any value for money.

Auditor general Caroline Gardner said there had been “a number of instances of poor governance and poor use of public money”.