THE chief executive of the body overseeing Scotland’s police service is under renewed pressure to quit, after the second damning report into his organisation in a week.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland found the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) had failed to run the country’s forensic service properly despite years of warnings.

The Inspectorate said the SPA had failed to put in place a strategy for delivering the service for four years, failed to set out an investment plan, and left “weaknesses” in its work with Police Scotland and prosecutors.

The report also said the limited information put before the SPA’s board about the service was preventing it holding SPA chief executive John Foley to account for the problems.

Mr Foley is already facing calls to resign over a host of other failings at the SPA.

Last week a separate Inspectorate report criticised his “dysfunctional” relationship with outgoing SPA Chair Andrew Flanagan, and warned of "fundamental weakness" at the top of the organisation, which oversees Police Scotland's £1bn budget.

Today’s report on the forensic service found the quality of analysis given to police was good, especially for serious and major crimes, although it was “poorer” for local policing.

But most of the key 23 findings on the SPA’s management and delivery of the forensic service, which costs £28m a year to run, were negative.

They included staff morale affected by “major challenges” in leadership and management; improvements delayed by lack of capacity and skills; overstretched staff , backlogs and increasing caseloads; staff waiting three years for new terms and conditions.

The service also had “no means to accurately cost its activities”, while its “functional silos” were exacerbating “weak communication” between management, staff and unions.

The SPA came into being in 2013 when Scotland’s eight police were merged.

Labour's Claire Baker said: "Once again we have another damning report that finds the SPA lacking leadership. John Foley and [Justice Secretary] Michael Matheson both have questions to answer."

Gill Imery, assistant inspector of constabulary at HMICS, said: "Forensic services play a key role in supporting the justice system in Scotland in the investigation, detection and prosecution of crime.

"We found staff at all levels are dedicated and committed to delivering a high-quality service.

"It was concerning that our inspection found there has been a lack of progress across improvement areas which were previously highlighted to both the SPA and Police Scotland."

The SPA said it was working on a 10-year strategy for forensic services

Police Scotland said it welcomed the "independent scrutiny" from HMICS.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Where recommendations have been made, we expect SPA to take them forward alongside Police Scotland to strengthen processes, governance and engagement with stakeholders."

SNP ministers have also been urged to drop controversial plans to merge Police Scotland and British Transport Police north of the border before a final vote at Holyrood today.