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Scotland's top police officer steps down amid a misconduct probe

Phil Gormley has been granted 'special leave' while two gross misconduct allegations against him are investigated.

Phil Gormley has been granted 'special leave' while two gross misconduct allegations against him are investigated.

Police Scotland's chief constable is off work today amid fresh bullying claims.

Phil Gormley has been granted 'special leave' while two gross misconduct allegations against him are investigated.

Mr Gormley already faced a misconduct probe into bullying allegations but stayed in his job. 

A new complaint has now been raised by a member of the Force Executive - Police Scotland's senior management team.

The team comprises officers ranked at Assistant Chief Constable and higher, the force's deputy chief officer and the director of ICT.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) confirmed on Friday it was investigating a new allegation of gross misconduct by the chief constable, in addition to one announced in July.

Both complaints were referred to the organisation following an investigation by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the oversight body for the force.

Mr Gormley, who denies both allegations, faced calls to temporarily stand aside when the initial complaint was revealed but remained in post until the second accusation emerged.

Police Scotland's headquarters in Scotland. The claims against Mr Gormley will now be investigated

He said in a statement: 'I have been notified by the SPA of a complaint made against me. This complaint originates from a member of the Force Executive.

'In the interests of the office of Chief Constable and the broader interests of Police Scotland, I have sought and been granted special leave to enable this matter to be properly assessed.

'I deny and reject the allegations and will co-operate with the SPA's assessment and procedures. It is my intention to resume my full duties when this matter has been resolved.'

No information was given regarding the nature either of complaint, but if a serious breach of standards is found, Mr Gormley could face dismissal.

The SPA confirmed it had agreed to Mr Gormley's request for a temporary leave of absence and said this will be kept under review on a four-weekly basis.

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone will take over leadership of Police Scotland until further notice, the authority said.

Pirc said once each investigation is concluded it will submit a report to the SPA on whether the allegations should be referred to a misconduct hearing.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called for Mr Gormley to stand aside when the first Pirc investigation was confirmed.

At the time, the SPA ruled that temporarily removing him from his post was 'not appropriate'.

Mr Rennie said: 'It has taken too long but Phil Gormley has made the right decision to temporarily stand aside and I commend him on that.

'The investigation needs to be completed effectively and swiftly so that Police Scotland can move on.

'There is a lot to fix in Police Scotland and we need effective leadership to fix it.'

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