The Daily Record has reported details of its failed attempts to obtain a statement through the media department of Lothian and Borders Police from its chief constable over a suspended officer.
The tabloid had earlier revealed that PC Greig Anderson had been ordered off duty 42 months ago over cocaine claims and had been on full pay since – amounting to £115,000.
And yesterday the redtop claimed: “Lothian and Borders Police decided the scandal of suspended PC Greig Anderson wasn’t worthy of comment from their £142,000-a-year chief constable David Strang.”
The force still has not concluded disciplinary proceedings against him – even though the criminal case against him ended 13 months ago.
In its story yesterday, the tabloid reported: “Asked for a statement from Strang about the Record’s revelations, press officer Holly Gilfether replied: “A response from the chief constable?
“The level of the inquiry that we are dealing with here would warrant probably a police spokesperson quote, so you will get that.
“I know he’s head of the force but I’m not sure whether this is something we would have the chief constable commenting on.”
The paper said Anderson, 37, a Special Branch officer, who was grilled over a scandal involving a drug-dealing fellow cop, was convicted of criminal neglect of his duty on March 4, 2011.
He was sentenced to 140 hours of community service after items of evidence including seized cocaine and cannabis were found in two residential properties including his family home in Musselburgh.
The Record story continued: “When the force came back with an official explanation yesterday, they blamed ‘a particular level of complexity’ in the misconduct proceedings for the hold-up.
“A statement from a ‘police spokesperson’ added: ‘It is anticipated this will be concluded in the near future’.
“Earlier, when asked why Strang, 54, would not speak on the matter as head of the force, Gilfether said: “Obviously the chief constable is the head of the force, but it’s actually the deputy chief constable who conducts our misconduct proceedings.”
“When we pressed the matter, Gilfether, 26, the force’s ‘corporate communications coordinator’, offered another reason for the silence of the chief, saying: ‘It’s ongoing just now.
“’We’re not at the conclusion of anything to be able to categorically say anything. They are firmly involved in the proceedings themselves so it wouldn’t be appropriate for them to comment’.”
The Record reports today that Councillor Iain Whyte, the head of Lothian and Borders Police Board, said he would be asking why the force had still not dealt with Anderson.
And it quotes Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill as saying that misconduct probes like Anderson’s should be finished “as promptly as possible”.
At the suggestions that The Daily Record and the media department were 'at war', Susan Lumsden, deputy head of corporate communications, told The Drum: "Lothian and Borders Police and its media office is NOT involved in a war of words with the Daily Record.
"It is business as usual between the Daily Record and Lothian and Borders Police media office. Yes, the Daily Record carried the article which is repeated on your website. But that does not constitute a war of words and, as I state, it is business as usual between our two organisations." she added.