• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Jo Farrell begins as new Chief Constable of Police Scotland

ByMaryse Bots

Oct 20, 2023
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Jo Farrell picked up her post as the first female Chief Constable of Police Scotland last Monday.

She joins the force from the Durham constabulary, where she has been in charge since 2019, previously working as assistant Chief Constable at Northumbria Police. 

This new position means she is moving from running one of the smallest police forces in the UK, to the second-largest. 

On her first day on the job she backed her predecessor Iain Livingstone’s statement that the force is institutionally racist and discriminatory, stating:

“Having considered Sir Iain’s reasons, I agree Police Scotland is institutionally discriminatory. People with different backgrounds or experiences, including our officers and staff, have not always received the service that is their right.” 

Livingstone’s statement was made after a report was published in May that staff had experienced “ongoing discrimination against minoritised communities, including first-hand accounts of racism, sexism, and homophobia”. 

In May 2022, officer Rhona Malone won almost £1m from Police Scotland after an employment tribunal found her to be a victim of sexism within the force. 

Claims of racism have been widely investigated as well, as the death of Sheku Bayoh sparked a discussion about the racial discrimination of the force. 

Bayoh never regained consciousness after a violent confrontation with officers while being restrained on the ground by six officers. 

The report also mentioned the force’s attempts to improve its culture are being held back by financial issues and pressure on frontline resources. 

Police Scotland is dealing with intense financial stress as the arrival of 200 new recruits in January has been postponed and the detection rate of some crimes are going down. 

There is also a predicted £19m overspend, a cut of civilian staff jobs and a freeze on recruitment of staff due to budget pressures. 

This means that officer numbers could fall to 16,200, which is the lowest number since SNP took office in 2007.

Next to that, the force is also still investigating ‘Operation Branchform’, which is the ongoing investigation into the finances of the SNP. 

The investigation is centered around the £600,000 of donations given to the SNP in 2021 and saw former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the then party treasurer Colin Beattie arrested and released without charge. 

Farrell has faced major issues before, as she was in charge of the investigation into Labour leader Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner for breaching COVID lockdown rules. 

She was also in charge of the investigation into former Chief Advisor for Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings’ infamous trip to his parents’ farm in Durham during a lockdown while having COVID-19 symptoms.

Image: Police Scotland logo” by allytibbitt is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.