Police open file on Holyrood harassment

Police have established a database to monitor potential sex pests at the Scottish Parliament, it has emerged.
Holyrood has been rocked by harassment claims in the past yearHolyrood has been rocked by harassment claims in the past year
Holyrood has been rocked by harassment claims in the past year

Operation Concrete has been set up after a recent staff survey which indicated that sexual harassment was widespread at Holyrood.

It includes a “restricted access” file which will keep tabs on any repeat offenders among both MSPs and staff, although police chiefs say it contains no names so far.

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The database was established last November, according to the Scottish Sun on Sunday.

It will record complaints linked “to either members/staff of the Scottish or UK Parliaments”, according to a briefing note released through Freedom of Information.

“A spreadsheet of all enquiries will be maintained with restricted access,” it stated.

“This will ensure that repeat perpetrators are easily identified.”

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Holyrood was rocked by the resignation of former Scottish Government childcare minister Mark McDonald last year when it emerged he sent an inappropriate text message to an SNP staff member.

He continues to sit as an independent MSP at Holyrood despite having been urged to stand down by former colleagues including Nicola Sturgeon.

Superintendent Laura McLuckie said: “A recording method for any reported incidents of a sexual nature involving MSPs or Parliament staff was initiated. This include use of the national intelligence database and provided the force with with a central point of collation.

“However, there have been no such incidents reported and therefore non recorded.”

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Labour MSP Claire Baker, co-convener of Holyrood’s cross-party group on Men’s Violence Against Women and Children, welcomed the database. She said: “Sexual harassment has absolutely no place in modern Scotland, but we continue to have high-profile examples of it.

“It remains far too prevalent in society, including sadly, in Scottish politics.

“That’s why it’s right the Scottish Parliament has taken action to tackle sexual harassment - and why it’s right they’re receiving support from Police Scotland.

“The Scottish Parliament needs to take a robust approach and make clear this type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and does have consequences for the perpetrator.”

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: “We take a zero tolerance to harassment and any complaints will be investigated.”