Met to review Police Scotland probe into covert operation

Osprey House in Paisley Image copyright Google
Image caption The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency was based at Osprey House in Paisley

The Metropolitan Police have been asked to review an internal investigation carried out by Police Scotland.

The probe centred on covert operations by the former Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA).

Scotland's chief constable Iain Livingstone told the Scottish Police Authority on Wednesday that the Met had the necessary depth and knowledge.

SCDEA no longer exists as it was incorporated into Police Scotland when it came into being in April 2013.

The Scottish force's investigation was launched after a civil action was brought to the Court of Session by a former Grampian Police officer who was seconded to the agency.

Known only as Mrs K, the officer made claims about unprofessional practice, including the burning of documents in 2011.

Done no wrong

She told the court she was left "extremely concerned" after uncovering evidence which suggested that covert operations and individuals involved in them may be compromised.

An internal investigation was launched and, as part of it, Mrs K was questioned by detectives.

During a further meeting with more senior officers, she was told she was being suspended from her role as an undercover operative.

She said she could not understand why this was happening as she was the innocent party.

Mrs K brought the court action because she was left feeling as if she had done wrong and maintained that she was a whistleblower.

A 59-page judgement issued in January ruled in favour of Mrs K and said further procedures may be required to assess the compensation she was due.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Mr Livingstone said the Met Police had the right depth and knowledge to carry out a review of the investigation

A Police Scotland investigation by anti-corruption officers under Deputy Chief Constable Taylor has been completed.

Mr Livingstone said that while he was "entirely satisfied" that the review was "thorough, robust and appropriate" he recognised the need to have public confidence in the "vital area of covert policing".

Speaking at the police authority board meeting, the police chief acknowledged concerns about the London force's own problems with undercover policing in the past, and said changes in its practices had been learned "through bitter experience".

But he added: "This is the Metropolitan Police of 2019; it is the Commissioner of 2019 and the individuals who have been tasked to carry out the work, to review the situation in Scotland, are individuals of real experience and depth."

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