Police Scotland compensation payments double to highest amount in six years at £5.5million



Police Scotland have paid £5.5million in compensation, the highest amount in six years and more than double in 2021.

Payouts for liability claims alone reached £1.7million, more than triple the amount paid out the previous year.

The family of Lamara Bell, who were left for dead by the roadside on the M9 after police failed to respond to a call, are among those who have received claims for compensation.

Another high-profile claim has been granted to Rhona Malone, a former firearms police officer who was found by a court to have been the victim of a ‘boys club’ at Edinburgh’s firearms unit, received nearly £1million.

The police complaints system, which has contributed to the large nature of the payments, was put in place by the Scottish Government as part of its reforms of Police Scotland.

The latest compensation figures were obtained through the Scottish Conservatives’ Freedom of Information request.

The failures and challenges were highlighted in a report by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini.

The party says the police have been “let down by a complaints system set up by the SNP government”.

Scotland’s Conservative shadow minister for community safety, Russell Findlay MSP, said: ‘The huge increase in police pay will come as a shock to the public.

“At a time when police budgets are under severe pressure, the force simply cannot afford costly payouts due to large compensation claims.

“Police Scotland have been let down by a complaints system set up by the SNP Government and torn to shreds by Dame Elish Angiolini in her lengthy report on the matter.

“Changes are needed within the police and they are making progress in this area, but the SNP must also start working to fix the broken system.

“I have written to the Chief Constable so that he can clarify public concerns about any impact on the Police Scotland budget, as well as the wider work being done to reduce the need for such payments in the future. “

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘It is up to the SPA and Police Scotland to determine the level of compensation payments, and they have established procedures for the handling and investigation of any claims and complaints.

“While the deployment of resources is a policing matter for the Chief Constable who is accountable to the Scottish Constabulary Authority, the Scottish Government expects all public bodies to deal with claims for compensation with due regard account of public funds.

“The introduction of a Police Complaints and Misconduct Bill will bring greater transparency around the police complaints process and further build public confidence in the police.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Our officers and staff are working in difficult circumstances across the country to keep communities safe and improve the lives of the public.

“Compensation payments are handled on a case-by-case basis with a view to obtaining the best value for the public purse.

“A significant portion of the increase in compensation payments this year can be attributed to a few cases related to incidents from previous years.”

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