POLICE Scotland have been blasted for lacking transparency after releasing 17 pages of redacted documents about Rangers fans' celebrations. 

Supporters took celebrations to George Square and Ibrox Stadium in March after the club won the Scottish Premiership. 

The fans - who damanged memorial benches during their celebrations - were condemned widely for their behaviour from senior officials, who described the scenes as "disgraceful" and "shameful". 


John Scott QC, was commissioned to review the approach by Police Scotland and found officers had acted proportionately.

Now, 17 pages of emails have been released by Police Scotland included discussions between Superintendent Stephen Dolan, director of operations at the SPFL Calum Beattie, and an unnamed Scottish Government official.

Some of the emails were sent on March 4 and were titled 'Urgent enquiry regarding COVID compliance and the potential for the SPFL Premiership title to be decided on 07 March'.

However apart from introductory and concluding lines the bulk of the emails were redacted.

Responding to the original request, a Police Scotland official said the information would be kept secret due to concerns releasing it would “compromise operational policing”.


Police Scotland refused to answer whether the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council or Rangers FC had influenced the policing decisions around the celebrations, the Scotsman reported.

Supt. Dolan described himself as having “responsibility” for the policing operation on Sunday, March 7, when the celebrations of Rangers fans were at their peak.

Liam McArthur, the Scottish Liberal Democrat’s justice spokesperson, said the handling of the Rangers celebrations “seriously undermined public confidence” in the pandemic restrictions.

He said: “There is a real public interest in establishing why that happened.

"That means being upfront and accountable about decisions that were made.

"Needless secrecy won’t help those efforts."

A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “It is all too typical of the SNP Government that correspondence is redacted or is failed to be released.

“While decisions on policing gatherings like this are ultimately a matter for frontline officers, the public were rightly concerned at the way these crowds were being dealt with.

"They have a right to know how closely the SNP Government were involved in these decisions.

“That can also help to give confidence that these sort of scenes will be avoided in any future celebrations.”

A Scottish Green party spokesperson said: "Transparency is essential to aiding the public understanding around the use of policing tactics.

"Publishing pages of redactions helps no-one and reinforces the impression Police Scotland has something to hide."

Responding, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We would not release information which would compromise operational policing and provide those intent on committing offences with details of how events may be policed.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “While the policing response to events and incidents is an operational matter for the Chief Constable, the Scottish Government has continual discussions with Police Scotland about public safety, particularly around high-risk events like some football matches, and we fully support their actions to keep the public safe during the pandemic.”