The controversial Counter Corruption Unit (CCU) of the Scotland Police is set to be shut down due to the Sunday Mail spy scandal. Announcements are expected to be made after the Scottish Parliament election that will be held in May.
CCU will be disbanded due to concerns of illegal inquiries done and heavy-handed tactics.
Watchdogs accused the internal affairs unit of launching an unauthorised hunt after they learned about a suspect forgotten in the Emma Caldwell murder case. CCU targeted two former officers and two serving officers, but the data collected through phone, and possibly from emails, were later discovered as obtained without authority from a judge.
The CCU broke the rules in an attempt to find serving officers that were helping reporters. They demanded approval from a judge five times, while carrying out inquiries with the four targets.
This resulted in the Scottish Police Authority asking Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland to look into the actions of CCU, following a breach of the guidelines.
Deputy chief constable Neil Richardson has been accused by a detective of making up evidence to investigators of breaches of new regulations that keep police from easily spying on journalists. He announced last week that he will resign from the force.
The new chief constable Phil Gormley is said to hand over the role of probing allegations committed by police officers to independent investigators.
This move was lauded by Labour’s justice spokesman Graham Pearson. “Phil Gormley is clearly setting his soldiers in the right order.” He also added that he recommended exactly the same move after he reviewed policing in Scotland in November.
Since he took over in January, Gormley has made the problems with CCU one of his top priorities.
Duties of the CCU will be turned over to the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner, according to sources.