SCOTTISH Police Authority chair Andrew Flanagan is under mounting pressure after it emerged he did not share a crucial report on forensics with all his board members.

Sources confirmed that Mr Flanagan, already facing calls to quit after he kept senior SPA figures in the dark over a damning Inspectorate letter, did not pass on the document to his colleagues at the time.

In another blow to Mr Flanagan’s credibility, a Holyrood committee concluded yesterday that it “does not have confidence” in his ability to lead the organisation.

The SPA, which provides oversight of Police Scotland, has endured a torrid four months over claims of secrecy at the body.

Following a review by Mr Flanagan, the SPA moved to private committee meetings and opted to withhold board papers from the public until the day of the meeting.

Moi Ali, at that point a board member, quit the SPA after clashing with Mr Flanagan over the proposals.

It then emerged that Derek Penman, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS), set out his concerns in writing about the secrecy plan, but Mr Flanagan did not pass on the letter to his board.

The Herald can now reveal that Mr Flanagan is embroiled in a similar row on a forensics report Mr Penman sent him last year.


Picture: The Herald's original story on the HMICS row


Picture: The Herald broke the Moi Ali story

The SPA has control of forensic services - including DNA, drug analysis and scene examination - and Mr Penman sent the chair a “professional advice note” (PAN) on the subject.

The document flagged up possible reforms on a part of the police service that has had to make efficiency savings.

A spokesman for HMICS said of the advice note: “HMICS received a letter on 31 October 2016, from the [SPA] Chair acknowledging the final version and confirming that it had been shared with all board members.”

However, asked yesterday to confirm that Mr Flanagan had shared the advice note with all board members, a spokesman for the SPA said:

"The SPA members received briefing from their officers last August in which one of the options set out in respect of forensic services clearly reflected the HMICS advice note. The paper provided to members made clear that background papers available to them included the independent analysis and advice by HMICS in relation to forensic services.”

A senior policing source said it was a “fair assumption” that the advice note was not given to all board members at the time.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Douglas Ross said: “With every revelation, it becomes harder to believe Andrew Flanagan is still in post. This is yet another example of secrecy, and it’s doing the organisation no favours."

Scottish Greens MSP John Finnie said: "It's another misjudgement on Mr Flanagan's part. It should have been shared."

Meanwhile, yesterday’s report by Holyrood’s Justice Sub-Committee into the SPA piled more pressure on Mr Flanagan.

It concluded: “Not circulating the HMICS letter to Board Members, as Her Majesty’s Inspector would have expected, was, in the Sub-Committee’s view, a serious error of judgement.”

The report added: “Given the evidence that it has heard, the Sub-Committee does not have confidence that the current chair is the best person to lead the Board."

Holyrood Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny committee previously criticised Mr Flanagan for his “inappropriate” treatment of Ms Ali.

Mr Flanagan said of the Justice Sub-Committee report: "As I have already done with the views of other parliamentarians, I and the SPA Board will consider this report very carefully over the coming days and reflect on its contents.

"As I indicated in my evidence to the Committee, I have publicly acknowledged recent mistakes without caveat or qualification. I also believe that in my time in office I have brought much improvement and clarity to the strategy, governance, sustainability, and relationships within policing.”