THE UK surveillance watchdog has finished its report into allegations Police Scotland unlawfully spied on journalists’ sources.

However, Holyrood’s Justice Committee has been told that a final determination cannot be made as a special Commissioner for spying legislation is not currently in post.

Since March 25th, police forces have been required to get judicial approval before using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to flush out a reporter’s source.

The law change was pushed through following human rights concerns over police officers using the legislation in this way on hundreds of occasions.

In July, the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO) announced that two unnamed forces had breached the new Code of Practice.

The Sunday Herald, the Herald’s sister newspaper, revealed that Police Scotland was one of the transgressors.

However, the single force and the Scottish Government have refused to comment on the grounds that the IOCCO was continuing its investigation into the breaches.

The Justice Committee expressed a desire to launch a probe of its own and wrote to the IOCCO seeking clarification of when its report would be issued.

In response, the IOCCO said “historically” its inquiries took between three and six months.

Committee convener Christine Grahame said, if the allegations are true, she wanted to “publicly hold the body responsible to account as soon as practicably possible”.

In another letter to the Committee, published today, IOCCO head Joanna Cavan said the watchdog had completed its investigations and conclusions have been prepared for the Commissioner.

However, she added that a Commissioner was not in post and so the matter could not be progressed, a delay she described as “incredibly frustrating”.

She added: “We do expect this to be resolved very shortly - within a matter of weeks. At present however our hands are tied as until we have a determination from the Commissioner we cannot complete the inquiry.”