The leadership of Police Scotland is in “turmoil,” a whistleblower has told The Herald on Sunday.

The insider warned that there was “discord” amongst the force’s higher echelons and “profound dissatisfaction” within the ranks regarding Chief Constable Jo Farrell.

They also accused the new boss of a “diminished commitment” to “addressing institutional discrimination” within the force.

Police Scotland said they did not recognise the criticism, but Calum Steele, the General Secretary of the International Council of Police Representative Associations and the former boss of the Scottish Police Federation said it was clear the force was not a “happy ship".

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Last month, The Herald reported David Duncan, the Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) in charge of Policing Together, Police Scotland’s equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, had retired after little more than a year in post.

Our whistleblower said his “abrupt exit” just weeks before the new hate crime legislation took effect, highlighted the “internal discord" in the service.

They said it also "served as a stark criticism of the leadership's failure to prioritise and address the systemic challenges facing Police Scotland".

Policing Together was created by Sir Iain Livingstone to "drive forward cultural change within Police Scotland" and came just months before his bombshell confession that “institutional racism, sexism, misogyny and discrimination exist” within the service.

The new ACC portfolio was created in February 2023 to give “sustainable and tangible effect to the commitments within the Policing Together strategy".

However, under the new Chief Constable, it has been merged with the Prevention, Partnership, and Community Wellbeing portfolio.

The whistleblower told The Herald on Sunday: "This redirection of focus forced David to engage with a series of pressing issues, including the enactment of new hate crime legislation, the drugs strategy which encompasses the debate around drug consumption facility rooms, as well as novel approaches to mental health demand and to oversee the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit - each representing areas of considerable and urgent demand.

"This decision, taken in November 2023 to dismantle the Policing Together post, has been widely regarded as a significant misstep by the Chief Constable."

They said there was "profound dissatisfaction within the ranks", as the "desperately needed transformation within Police Scotland would likely flounder under the new Chief Constable’s approach".

They said Mr Duncan's "abrupt exit" highlighted the "internal discord" in the service and "also served as a stark criticism of the leadership's failure to prioritise and address the systemic challenges facing Police Scotland".

Currently, the force is looking to fill a number of senior vacancies. 

The Scottish Police Authority is already looking to recruit three new ACCs. Meanwhile, two of the most experienced deputy chief constables, Fiona Taylor and Malcolm Graham, are both due to retire this month.

Deputy Chief Officer David Paige, the service’s most senior civilian staff member, has been on leave for months now after lodging a grievance against the Chief Constable.

CC Farrell, the first woman to lead Police Scotland, joined last year after a four-year stint in charge of Durham Constabulary.

She previously sparked controversy after commandeering a patrol car to taxi her home to England when her train was cancelled because of Storm Babet.

The Chief later apologised for her "error of judgment" - which happened less than two weeks into her new role.

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Our whistleblower said they were worried about a “diminished commitment” by CC Farrell to “addressing institutional discrimination within Police Scotland".

They added: "Such a sequence of events points to a leadership in turmoil, casting a shadow over the force’s direction and its ability to address critical internal and external challenges.

“The lack of transparency and strategic missteps has not only sown discord amongst the most senior ranks but has also raised urgent questions about the leadership’s priorities and their impact on the morale and effectiveness of Police Scotland."

Calum Steele told the Herald on Sunday that it was "really quite remarkable" that senior police officers were so willing to publicly decry the characteristics of colleagues. 

"It's the kind of behaviour that if it was to be identified as being undertaken by junior colleagues that the service would almost certainly take extreme disciplinary action against individuals because of their fairness, integrity and respect agenda."

He added: "The fact that it very obviously identifies that there is a significant lack of confidence in the Chief Constable ought to be of concern for everybody. 

"The mood music that I pick up from colleagues and former colleagues is that there is a significant disharmony within the higher echelons of the Force HQ at Tulliallan and it doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "We have not scrapped Policing Together and remain committed to making Police Scotland an anti-discriminatory service."