Comment: Many left angered by police bungle

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THERE can be few 
organisations in recent history which have been so desperate for a confidence boost as 
Police Scotland.

The bungled communications around police station counter closures, the anger over the presence of armed officers on our streets, the death in custody of Sheku Bayoh and the deaths of John Yuill and his partner Lamara Bell in a road crash in July that went undiscovered for three days despite being reported by a member of the public. The list goes on.

Collectively, this led to the announcement of an early departure for Chief Constable Sir Stephen House, who had clearly failed to win the confidence of many of his officers and the wider public.

To underline this point, a joint Scottish Police Authority and Police Scotland officer and staff engagement survey found one in three police officers want to quit their posts within three years. It also revealed that around three quarters of officers believe they do not have the resources to do the job properly.

Desperate for a confidence boost? Absolutely.

The recruitment of a new chief constable was clearly an opportunity to start afresh. And we congratulate Philip Gormley – appointed from the National Crime Agency – and wish him all the best.

However, the bungled communications (again) around the announcement has left many flabbergasted and angry.

That such an important role could be revealed in the media before the unsuccessful candidates themselves were even told is high incompetence.

And to then issue a statement suggesting that the story on the appointment was “speculation” is an insult to the journalist and editors involved.

All public bodies, especially the police, require the confidence of citizens. Mr Gormley must put this task at the top of his in-tray.