SCOTLAND'S Justice Secretary has not met with the chief constable of the country’s beleaguered police force in four months, it emerged yesterday.
Michael Matheson last met Sir Stephen House one-to-one on July 21, 13 days after the M9 crash tragedy that sparked serious concerns about policing in Scotland.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also not met with House, who steps down as chief constable at the end of the month, since July.
Matheson and House did attend a counter-terrorism event on September 9 but have not met otherwise.
Labour MSP Graeme Pearson, a former deputy chief constable of Strathclyde Police, said: “The reputation of our police officers has been dragged through the mud because of decisions made by the chief constable and SNP Ministers.
“It’s staggering that the Justice Secretary hasn’t had a meeting with the chief constable for nearly four months, given all that has happened in that time.”
The force have been under fire for several issues, including failing to attend the M9 crash, in which Lamara Bell and John Yuill died, and the death of Sheku Bayoh in custody in Kirkcaldy.
Two reports have highlighted failures with call handling procedures and a staff survey revealed that a third of police staff plan to leave.
Pearson added: “Matheson didn’t bother to have a meeting with House to discuss these issues.
“The SNP Government should spend less time patting one another on the back and more getting on with the job of restoring trust in our police service.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Justice Secretary has regular contact with a range of senior officers in Police Scotland at both formal meetings and through more informal discussions at events.
“His last formal meeting with a member of the Police Scotland executive was with deputy chief constable Neil Richardson on November 4.”