Chief used police car for journey home to England during Storm Babet

Jo Farrell has apologised for 'error of judgement' after requesting a car to drive her home to Northumberland just weeks into her new role.

Police Scotland chief constable used police car for journey home to England during Storm Babet Durham Constabulary

The new chief constable has apologised for an “error of judgement” after she used a Police Scotland car to drive her home to England during Storm Babet.

Jo Farrell became Scotland’s top police officer in October, becoming the first woman to hold the role following Sir Iain Livingstone’s retirement earlier this year

But she has had to issue an apology – just weeks into the role – after she used a police vehicle to take her home to Northumberland when the train she had planned to travel on was cancelled.

The incident happened on the evening of October 20, with the Sun newspaper reporting a Police Scotland car made the trip with an off-duty police officer behind the wheel.

Ms Farrell said: “I requested my office to arrange for a car to drive me home to the Northumberland area after work.

“I was unable to complete the journey by train as services had been cancelled and my own police vehicle was unavailable.

“I have apologised for this error of judgement.”

Watchdogs at the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) confirmed chairman Martyn Evans had raised the matter with Ms Farrell.

A spokesperson for the SPA said: “The authority is aware the chief constable used a police vehicle following the cancellation of a scheduled train journey. The chair has discussed this with the chief constable who has apologised. The authority considers the matter closed.”

Ms Farrell Police Scotland from Durham Constabulary. She was appointed by the SPA following a six-week assessment process and takes up the post on a salary of more than £232,000 per annum.

During her leadership of Durham Constabulary, the force was involved in high-profile investigations into political figures.

In May 2020, it faced demands to interview then prime minister Boris Johnson’s aide Dominic Cummings over lockdown breaches.

It also cleared Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of breaking lockdown rules in the “beergate” investigation.

Scottish Conservative justice spokesman Russell Findlay said: “This is a concerning start to the new chief’s tenure and while her apology is welcome, it is important that the SPA establishes the full facts of this incident.

“Hard-working frontline officers who put themselves in danger every day are already feeling the impact of SNP cuts, and expect the chief to lead by example.”

Who is Jo Farrell?

Ms Farrell began her career as a constable in Cambridge aged 22, becoming the first person in her family to join the police and fulfilling her childhood ambition.

Later, she joined Northumbria Police, before moving to Durham in 2016.

When she became its chief constable in 2019, she was the first woman to enter that role.

Following her appointment as chief constable of Police Scotland earlier this year, she said: “This really is a day of mixed emotions.

“I am immensely proud to have served as chief constable of Durham and equally proud of everything the force has achieved over that time.

“Over the last six years, I have worked with some extraordinarily talented and committed people, dedicated to keeping County Durham and Darlington safe, and it has been a very difficult decision to leave.

“But as chief constable of Police Scotland I have been offered a unique opportunity to take on one of the most exciting and challenging jobs in UK policing.”

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