NICOLA Sturgeon is facing calls to reveal what she knows about allegations of Police Scotland spying on journalists and their sources.

Labour's justice spokesman Hugh Henry has written to the First Minister, following claims that the national force breached rules by obtaining communications data without first acquiring judicial approval.

Police Scotland has refused to confirm or deny that it is one of the forces referred to in a report by the Interception of Communications Commissioner Office (IOCCO).

Mr Henry's letter states: "People in Scotland deserve urgent answers to the following specific questions: Have you, or any of your ministers, been advised that Police Scotland is one of the unnamed forces in the report by the Interception of Communications Commissioner Office?

"Have you, or any of your ministers, authorised the surveillance of journalists and their sources by Police Scotland? Have you, or any of your ministers, had any discussions with Police Scotland about the monitoring of communications between journalists and their sources? What actions will you take to ensure such a breach never happens again?"

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of The National Union of Journalists, said the reports indicated that some officers "believe they are above the law they are there to uphold" and that the "outrageous behaviour" compromised press freedom.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: "Under current constitutional arrangements, obtaining telephone records (communications data) is a matter reserved to the UK Parliament and the Interception of Communications Commissioner reports on it to the Prime Minister. The policy of IOCCO is that it does not identify agencies where breaches have occurred.”

A Police Scotland Spokesperson said: "IOCCO has clearly set out its rationale for not identifying organisations in its report and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further."