Cops declare business interests, judges conceal their interests. MORE THAN fifteen hundred officers from Police Scotland – Scotland’s single national Police force – supplement their public salaries with second jobs and business interests ranging from entertainment to finance, legal, property letting and private security related businesses.
Police Officers – who as first responders to issues of public safety concerns and reports of criminal activity - are required to declare their interests to Police Scotland. The information is then kept on a database which can be accessed via Freedom of Information legislation.
However, in comparison - members of Scotland’s 700 plus strong judiciary – who take the ultimate decisions on the results of Police detection of crime - do not share any details on their outside interests save a handful of judges who serve on the ruling Board of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS).
A Freedom of Information request recently published by Police Scotland on the website whatdotheyknow reveals figures of at least 1,512 Police Officers who have business interests outside their main employment in the Police Service for Scotland.
All police officer business interests are granted by the Chief Constable, which are based on their own particular circumstances and review dates are similarly set (based on individual circumstances).
The information relating to business interests of Police Officers is recorded on the HR system (SCOPE).
Police Officers in Scotland are required to conform to the provisions of the Police Service of Scotland Regulations 2013 which state: “A constable must not have a business interest without the consent of— (a) the Authority, in the case of a senior officer; (b) the chief constable, in the case of any other constable, provided that, in the case of any such constable in whose case the chief constable has an interest otherwise than as chief constable, the chief constable must refer the matter to the Authority for it to consider whether to consent.”
The FOI request published by Police Scotland which also sought details of Police Officers ‘secondary employment’ drew a response stating the Police Service of Scotland Regulations 2013 does not recognise the term 'secondary employment'.
The published response from Police Scotland goes on to state: “However, Regulation 5 of the aforesaid regulations outlines the provisions concerning any 'business interest' of a police officer.”
An earlier Freedom of Information request to Police Scotland revealed certain business interests of the force’s top cops, :
For Chief Officers, this permission is granted (under Regulation 5 of the Police Service of Scotland Regulations 2013) by the Police Authority. The conditions and circumstances are outlined in this legislation which is available online, therefore section 25(1) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 applies: information which the applicant can reasonably obtain other than by requesting it under section 1(1) is exempt information.
Information provided by Police Scotland revealed executive members (including the now resigned DCC Neil Richardson) business interests from 1 April 2014-31 March 2015.
Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick: Property letting, Member and Trustee of various Charitable Organisations
Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson: Property letting, Board Member for Scottish Institute of Policy Research Trustee/Vice President of various Police Associations
Journalists then requested further details from Police Scotland in a request for review of the FOI disclosure, requesting the organisations referenced in the initial disclosure be identified.
The subsequent response from Police Scotland revealed:
Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson: Trustee, The Police Treatment Centres charity; Vice President, Police Mutual Board Member; The Scottish Institute for Policing Research.
Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick: Member, Scottish Chief Police Officers Association; Trustee, The Rank Foundation (Charitable Organisation); Trustee, Salle Ossian Community Sports Club (Charitable Organisation); Advisory Panel Member, Dfuse (Charitable Organisation; Patron, Revolving Doors (Charitable Organisation)
In relation to the numbers of properties rented out by senior Police Officers, Police Scotland refused to release details on the numbers of properties.
Police Scotland said in their response to the Freedom of Information request: “In relation to the number of properties relating to each Deputy Chief Constable, I have decided not to provide this level of information requested by you as it is considered to be exempt in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (the Act).”
“The number of properties which the respective Deputy Chief Constables hold as business interests is classed as personal information and as such Police Scotland believes that the disclosure of this information would cause unwarranted prejudice to the rights and freedoms and legitimate interests of the data subjects. Accordingly, release of this information into the public domain would breach the requirement to process personal data fairly, as laid down by the first data protection principle in Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998. This is an absolute exemption and does not require the application of the public interest test”"
Police Scotland also refused to provide any values for the properties rented out by senior Police Officers, claiming the force did not hold the information:
Police Scotland said in their response: “Finally, Police Scotland does not hold details on the value of each property, as there is no requirement to do so under Regulation 5 of the Police Service of Scotland Regulations 2013.”
The omission of any property values in the data ‘held’ by Police Scotland make it difficult to determine whether individual officers rent out lower or higher value properties, and establish a value of property portfolios held by serving public officials such as top cops – who’s counterparts higher up the ladder in the criminal justice system and courts are known to own multi million pound property portfolios.
In comparison - while it is generally known there are Police Officers who own more than one property and those who are involved in multiple property lets, there are also members of the judiciary, Crown Office Prosecutors and their families who own much higher value property portfolios – collectively valued in the tens of millions of pounds.
While there is some information now in the public arena in relation to the letting empires of Police Officers and some other public servants, both the judiciary and Prosecutors are currently running scared from declaring their interests and wealth, using their significant power in the justice system to block release of details of their links to business and values of assets.
Neil Richardson, who left Police Scotland after serving as the force's number two - to previous Chief Constable Stephen House – was blocked from buying the Audi he used at the single force after an intervention by the chief constable. Richarson was informed by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) that he could not take the car with him into retirement.
Interests and business links of Police Scotland officers who leave the force have come under further scrutiny, where in one recent case the Sunday Herald newspaper reported a former detective who played a key role in the failed £60m Police Scotland computer project now works in IT for the Scottish Government.
Alec Hippman, who was responsible for briefing MSPs about the troubled i6 scheme, landed a role in the Scottish Government in January 2016 after leaving the single force.
And in January 2916, the Sunday Herald newspaper revealed the then Chief Constable of Police Scotland Sir Stephen House set up his own company in the final weeks of his job as Chief Constable.
House formed Sarantium Solutions Ltd in October 2015 when he was heading towards the exit door of the single force.
Police Service of Scotland Regulations 2013 - Business interests:
5.—(1) A constable must not have a business interest without the consent of— (a) the Authority, in the case of a senior officer; (b) the chief constable, in the case of any other constable, provided that, in the case of any such constable in whose case the chief constable has an interest otherwise than as chief constable, the chief constable must refer the matter to the Authority for it to consider whether to consent.
(2) If a constable acquires or is likely to acquire a business interest, the constable must forthwith give written notice of that interest to the chief constable or, in the case of a senior officer, the Authority.
(3) If a constable has a business interest and is appointed to the office of chief constable, deputy chief constable or assistant chief constable, the constable must forthwith give written notice of that interest to the Authority unless the constable has previously disclosed that interest to the Authority.
(4) An individual applying for appointment to the Police Service, other than an individual referred to in paragraph (5), must give written notice to the chief constable of any business interest which that individual has or is likely to acquire after appointment.
(5) An individual applying for appointment to the office of chief constable, deputy chief constable or assistant chief constable must give written notice to the Authority of any business interest which that individual has or is likely to acquire after appointment.
(6) An individual or constable is regarded as having a business interest if— (a) that individual or constable carries on any business or holds any office or employment for hire or gain (otherwise than as a constable) in the United Kingdom; (b) that individual or constable resides at any premises where any member of that individual’s or constable’s family keeps a shop or carries on any like business in Scotland; (c) that individual or constable holds, or any member of that individual’s or constable’s family living with that individual or constable holds, any licence, certificate or permit granted in pursuance of the laws relating to liquor licensing or betting and gaming or regulation of places of public entertainment in Scotland or has any pecuniary interest in such licence, certificate or permit; or (d) that individual’s or constable’s spouse (not being separated from that individual or constable), civil partner (not being separated from that individual or constable) or cohabitant (not being separated from that individual or constable) keeps a shop or carries on any like business in Scotland.
(7) For the purposes of this regulation— (a) “member of that individual’s or constable’s family” includes parent, son, daughter, dependant, brother, sister, spouse (not being separated from that individual or constable), civil partner (not being separated from that individual or constable) or cohabitant (not being separated from that individual or constable); and (b) “cohabitant” means a member of a couple consisting of— (i) a man and a woman who are living together as if they were husband and wife; or (ii) two individuals of the same sex who are living together as if they were civil partners.
COPS DECLARE, JUDGES CONCEAL:
Members of Scotland's judiciary continue to wage a bitter five year campaign against proposals to require members of Scotland’s judiciary to declare their interests, and links to big business.
The salary scales of officers in Police Scotland - where all officers are required to declare their interests - show a Police Scotland constable can expect £24,204 per annum going up to £83,925 for a Chief Superintendent with 3 years experience to Assistant Chief Constables: £115,000, Deputy Chief Constables: £169,600 and the Chief Constable: £212,280
However – Scotland;s judges have no such requirement to declare interests, despite their huge judicial salaries skyrocketing from Sheriffs on £144,172 a year up to Sheriff Principals on £155,706 a year while judges of the Outer House of the Court of Session earn £179,768 a year, Inner House judges earning £204,695. The Lord Justice Clerk (currently Lady Dorrian) earns £215,695 a year, and the Lord President (currently Lord Carloway, aka Colin Sutherland) earns £222,862 a year.
The proposal to bring greater transparency to Scotland’s judiciary - Petition PE1458: Register of Interests for members of Scotland's judiciary - first debated at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee in January 2013 – calls for the creation of a publicly available register of judicial interests – containing information on judges’ backgrounds, figures relating to personal wealth, undeclared earnings, business & family connections inside & outside of the legal profession, membership of organisations, property and land, offshore investments, hospitality, details on recusals and other information routinely lodged in registers of interest across all walks of public life in the UK and around the world.
A full debate on the proposal to require judges to declare their interests was held at the Scottish Parliament on 9 October 2014 - ending in a motion calling on the Scottish Government to create a register of judicial interests. The motion was overwhelmingly supported by MSPs from all political parties.
Previous articles on the lack of transparency within Scotland’s judiciary, investigations by Diary of Injustice including reports from the Sunday Herald and Sunday Mail newspapers, and video footage of debates at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee can be found here : A Register of Interests for Scotland's Judiciary.