Senior officer lodges complaint against new Police Scotland chief constable

Deputy chief officer David Page is absent from work while his grievance against Jo Farrell is investigated.

Senior officer lodges complaint against new Police Scotland chief constable Jo Farrell Allan Bovill/Police Scotland

Police Scotland’s top civilian staff member has lodged a grievance against the force’s new chief constable, Jo Farrell.

Deputy chief officer David Page is absent from work while his complaint is being investigated.

It is understood he made the complaint against the chief constable within weeks of her arrival last October and is currently on sick leave.

Mr Page joined Police Scotland as its top civilian staffer in 2016 after a career in banking and the army.

Deputy chief officer David Page, Police Scotland's top civilian staff member.Scottish Parliament

The news of the complaint made against Ms Farrell comes as two senior officers are set to retire from Police Scotland.

Deputy chief constable Malcolm Graham announced this week he will retire on April 8 after almost 30 years in uniform, while deputy chief constable Fiona Taylor is set to retire next month.

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

She was previously chief constable of Durham Constabulary.

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the employer for senior officers and staff – said they would not comment as “any complaints or concerns of that nature would be confidential”.

But the Scottish Conservatives called on the SPA to clarify the situation.

Shadow justice secretary Russell Findlay said: “Since being created by the SNP government a decade ago, Police Scotland has often been accused of lacking transparency which is unhealthy, unhelpful and undermines public confidence.

“All public bodies have a duty to be candid about such important issues and I would urge ministers, Police Scotland and the SPA to come clean about exactly what is going on.”

In November, Ms Farrell apologised for an “error of judgement” after she used a Police Scotland car to drive her home to England during Storm Babet.

Ms Farrell confirmed she had requested her office “arrange for a car to drive me home to the Northumberland area after work”.

In a statement issued by Police Scotland, she added: “I was unable to complete the journey by train as services had been cancelled and my own police vehicle was unavailable.”

Watchdogs at the SPA confirmed chairman Martyn Evans had raised that matter with Ms Farrell.

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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