A TOTAL of 25 complaints have been made against police counter-corruption officers in Scotland in the last seven years, the country’s most senior policeman has revealed.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley told MSPs on Holyrood’s Justice Committee there were 108 separate allegations detailed in those complaints.

The most recent complaint includes the criminal allegation that an officer attempted to pervert the course of justice, as well as 11 further non-criminal allegations.

This is still the subject of investigation, Gormley said, while the other complaints have either resulted in no action being taken or officers being given “corrective advice”.

Gormley had been asked to detail criminal complaints made against members of the Counter Corruption Unit (CCU) carrying out their duties by Margaret Mitchell, convener of the Justice Committee.

She wrote to him seeking “further clarification”, including what crimes or offences have been alleged and how many claims of misconduct had been made between April 1, 2009 and June 30 this year.

In response, Gormley told her: “For completeness, the total number of complaints within this time period is 25 and the total number of allegations is 108.”

The letter added: “I have asked the chief constable of Durham Constabulary, Chief Constable Mike Barton, to undertake a review of complaints made against staff in Police Scotland’s Counter Corruption Unit.”

Barton has already been tasked with leading an independent investigation into a breach of guidelines by the Scottish force when it accessed data in a row linked to journalists’ sources.

In a report in June, HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland Derek Penman made 39 recommendations for improvements after an investigation into the CCU.

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) had ordered the review after it was revealed last year that guidelines on accessing data without proper consent had been breached when the CCU tried to discover more details about a journalist’s sources in relation to a newspaper story about the murder of prostitute Emma Caldwell.

Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur said the CCU had been “in the eye of the storm over attempts to hack journalistic sources”.

He said: “This letter reveals more than 130 complaints and allegations about the conduct of CCU officers and criminal investigations into allegations of perverting the course of justice.

“Reports like this can only undermine the good work of police officers across Scotland.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Police Authority said: “We recognise the ongoing public and parliamentary interests in this area of policing, but it is important to recognise the progress already made since HMICS delivered its report on the Counter Corruption Unit in June.

“Police Scotland has subsequently announced an independent review by Durham Police which is due to report later this year.

“The fact that we now have a reference group involving representatives from the SPA, Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, Scottish Police Federation and British Transport Police, as well as solicitors, has sent a powerful signal of the changing approach.”