COMPLAINTS about how Police Scotland handled a probe into people dressing as Nazis and Catholic clergy at a loyalist flute band fancy dress party in an Orange Order hall have been upheld following an internal investigation.

Two officers have been sanctioned after it emerged that they failed to progress the first complaint and then failed to record a second complaint about pictures of the fancy dress party first posted on Facebook and subsequently published in the Sunday Herald in July.

The complainant, who has asked not to be named, had attempted to make a complaint to police about images of people at fancy dress parties in 2010 and 2013 who dressed as Adolf Hitler and wife Eva Braun, posing next to two children dressed in rags branded with a yellow star similar to the one Jewish people were forced to wear by the Nazis.

Other participants dressed as Catholic clergy with nooses around their necks and some blacked up. A post on the flute band Facebook page where the images appeared said the joint winners of the 2013 fancy dress competition were the Nazi impersonators and the children.

The images were condemned as “hateful”, “racist” and “breathtaking in their ignorance” by the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, the Catholic Church, anti-sectarian charity Nil By Mouth and Legion Scotland, which represents veterans.

The complainant alleged that the initial complaint to police about the images was not progressed and a subsequent attempt to complain was brushed aside by an officer who bizarrely referenced former Celtic manager and current Hibernian manager Neil Lennon’s behaviour at a football match.

After the calls the complainant asked Police Scotland to investigate the conduct of the officers. In a letter sent to the complainant on behalf of absent Chief Constable Philip Gormley, the deputy head of service centres said an officer called Inspector Ferguson was assigned to investigate the complaints.

Ferguson found that the officer who spoke to the complainant on August 26 “referred you to a recent incident involving Neil Lennon at a football match … in an attempt, it would appear, to draw parallels with your complaint”.

Ferguson said he should not have done that and added that “throughout the call he spoke over the top of you, providing you with irrelevant information and failing to understand your concerns or deal with them appropriately”. Ferguson found the allegation of “incivility” upheld.

A complaint titled “neglect of duty” was also upheld after Ferguson ruled that the officer “failed to record” the allegation that a hate crime had been committed. Ferguson said: “I can confirm that the officer should have taken these details from you over the phone …”

A further complaint that there was “irregularity in procedure” was also upheld after Ferguson ascertained that the officer did not take a complaint which alleged officers failed to progress the original complaint made on July 16.

Ferguson said: “I apologise for the unnecessary frustration and anxiety this situation may have caused you and I can confirm that the officer you spoke with on August 26 has been counselled in relation to his failure to deal with your complaint effectively.”

The source who complained to Police Scotland said: “I don't have any confidence that the 'counselling' will have helped this officer alter his views, and am more convinced than ever that Police Scotland need anti-sectarian training. It’s beyond belief that in 2017 they are still doing their own training, which is clearly failing.”

Another allegation of “irregularity in procedure” was raised against a second officer by Ferguson. She found that when the initial complaint was made on July 16 an officer “failed to provide sufficient information as to how they were expected to progress your report, leading to no action being taken and no one calling you back”.

Ferguson then apologised again and said that officer has been “provided with corrective advice on how this incident should have been dealt with to ensure similar issues do not occur in the future”.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland can confirm the complaint was upheld and have apologised in respect of the matter.

“Police Scotland seeks to apply the highest possible professional standards to all that it does especially around the conduct of officers, quality of service to the public and the investigation of crime. Where service falls below the standards expected, appropriate steps will be taken.”

The spokeswoman also confirmed that no one will be charged following their investigation into the fancy dress party.

She added: “Police Scotland was instructed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service that no criminality has taken place in respect of the pictures published on social media.”