CONCERNS have been raised over the accountability of Scotland's new police watchdog amid claims of cronyism in its recruitment process.

The union, Unison, has expressed deep concern over who is keeping watch on the new Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

The Association of Scottish Police Superintendents claims there are many unanswered questions over the appointment of staff and the recruitment of consultants at the public body.

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Unison, which represents police civilian staff, fears the SPA is not following proper public sector recruitment processes.

It follows the appointment of a business partner of SPA chairman Vic Emery as a senior manager, and the hiring of a "behavioural management" consultant – who also has previous links to Mr Emery – on rates of up to £720 a day.

Gerry Crawley, Unison lead police negotiator, said: "It's time the justice committee and the Justice Secretary take a closer look at what the SPA are doing in the recruitment process."

According to the SPA, its board will hold its chief executive to account, as well as scrutinising the new police force. A spokesman said: "Once formal longer-term requirements are assessed and structures agreed, permanent roles will be advertised."