The police chief spoke at this morning’s meeting of the Scottish Police Authority Board (Thursday May 25) and gave a sweeping statement highlighting “limited investment in police infrastructure” and conceding that “Police Scotland It’s institutionally racist.”
Livingstone also addressed the ongoing investigation into the finances of the Scottish National Party, which has led to resignations within the party and also two arrests.
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The case has been widely reported in the media and discussed on social media and, reflecting on such scrutiny, he said: “As a police chief, I highly value such security, supervision and defiance. It is a necessary, vital, productive and key component to maintaining and building public trust in the police and vital to maintaining our democratic legitimacy. I really feel that the more people know about policing, understand what we really do and how we do it, the more trust and support from our fellow citizens will grow.”
He then focused on Branchform in particular and ‘operational independence’ as well as ‘political interference’.
“In the performance of our duties, the operational independence of the police chief is a key democratic principle,” he said.
“Of course, the central element of that essential operational independence is the high level of responsibility that I have just described. It follows that police investigations should be allowed to proceed without any kind of political interference.
“I have previously stated and will reaffirm today that I fiercely resist any attempt to exert political pressure on my decision-making or on any police operation. Police operations are and will be based on citizen security, the state of lawnot politics or any constitutional position.
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“Under Operation Branchform, a dedicated team of Police Scotland specialist officers crime he continues his research into the funding and finances of the Scot Nat Party, working closely and in conjunction with experienced and independent prosecutors in the Crown Office and the solicitor’s tax service.
“A diligent, thorough and proportionate investigation with integrity is underway and two individuals have been arrested and subsequently released without charge pending further investigation, which is ongoing.”
He continued: “I fully understand and recognize the high level of public interest in this particular case, but due process must and will be followed at all times, within whatever time frames are necessary, time frames set by investigative considerations, not political considerations. .
“I would request, I would urge all civic leaders, if they offer any comments or thoughts about what a live investigation is, to act prudently and responsibly, inaccurate assertions and ill-informed speculations will only serve to harm justice, violate the rights of individuals and undermine the rule of law.
More to follow.