Police officers will no longer be able to resign to avoid disciplinary hearings under proposed new laws tabled by SNP ministers.

But the “long-overdue” legislation comes amid concerns that the Scottish Government has ““completely failed to fix the broken police complaints system”.

The Scottish Government’s Police (Ethics, Conduct and Scrutiny) Bill has been introduced to Holyrood to ensure allegations of misconduct are dealt with more transparently and effectively.

It also seeks to strengthen public confidence in the standards of police conduct.

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If passed, it would also see the outcomes of misconduct hearings published online, and officers found guilty will be banned from re-employment in policing.

Under the plans, officers facing allegations would be placed on an advisory list to ensure they cannot resign to avoid being held to account.

The role of the independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) would be significantly enhanced to oversee the new code of ethics.

The proposed overhaul followed the consultation by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini’s independent review in 2020.

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In its implementation, the Bill would deliver the majority of the remaining legislative recommendations made by Dame Elish, who called for increased transparency and accountability in the complaints process.

Figures published earlier this year revealed that 47 officers in Scotland had resigned or retired during misconduct proceedings against them since 2019, while there were 332 allegations of gross misconduct and 1,182 misconduct complaints.

SNP Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “Scotland is well served by the exceptional dedication and commitment of Scotland’s police officers and the work they do every day to keep communities safe.

“However, if things go wrong, the police must be held to account and improvements made. The principle of policing by consent, so central to our justice system, is built on this accountability. It is also in the interests of both the public and of the policing family.

“This Bill, if passed, will help strengthen public confidence; for example, by ensuring police officers can no longer resign to avoid being held to account for gross misconduct allegations against them.

“The vital safeguards set out in this legislation will enhance the professional service already delivered by officers, as they perform their privileged duties to keep us all safe.”

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Scottish Tory justice spokesman Jamie Greene said the “overdue publication” was a “step in the right direction”.

He said: “Despite repeated calls from the Scottish Conservatives and victims, successive SNP justice secretaries have completely failed to fix the broken police complaints system that has occurred on their watch.

“Their failures to do so have let down the vast majority of good police officers and the wider public.

“The SNP’s progress on implementing the recommendations in the landmark Angiolini review has moved at a snail’s pace for over two years now, which simply isn’t good enough.

“As a result, officers have scandalously been allowed to retire and resign while they were still under investigation so it is welcome SNP ministers have committed to closing this loophole.”

Police Scotland's deputy chief constable, Fiona Taylor, said: “We have discharged the vast majority of Lady Elish’s recommendations which apply to Police Scotland.

"Our safeguarding of our values and standards through rigorous recruitment; enhanced vetting; more visible conduct outcomes; and a focus on prevention has never been stronger.

“Some recommendations require investment or legislation and we are aware of the measures now presented to the Scottish Parliament.

"Police Scotland will continue to work with our partners and the public to maintain and build our strong relationship of trust with our communities.”