THE BBC took four days to respond to a complaint about a glaring inaccuracy in one of its headlines, The National understands.

The corporation reported on Friday, July 7, on the Scottish Government’s proposals to decriminalise drug possession in an effort to further frame the addiction crisis as a health issue.

Decriminalisation would stop people with drug problems being treated as criminals, but not make possession legal. Instead, cases would see civil responses such as rehabilitation.

But the BBC reported: “Scottish government wants drug possession to be legal.”

The error echoed rhetoric from the Tories, who have been falsely conflating decriminalisation with legalisation and “inflaming” the drugs debate, according to campaigner Peter Krykant.

READ MORE: Alister Jack: Scottish drug decriminalisation calls 'manufacture grievance'

The day after the BBC story was published, a complaint seen by this paper was sent to the corporation.

“This is absolutely not the case”, the complaint said about the assertion made in the headline.

It compared the headline to another from Scottish Legal News, which reported: “Scottish Government calls for decriminalisation of drugs for personal use.”

The complaint further quoted the Scottish Legal story, which stated: “The move would allow people found in possession of drugs to be treated and supported rather than criminalised and excluded.

“Decriminalisation would also mean that without a criminal record, people in recovery would have a better chance of employment.”

READ MORE: Paper reveals 'sheer scale of opportunity' for indy Scotland's economic growth

The complaint went on: “The question must therefore be asked, why did BBC Scotland take it upon themselves to alter the important context of the subject to make a hostile accusation?

“As in the past, I don't expect any constructive reply to this as I am fully aware of BBC Scotland's blatant bias towards anything positive coming from the Scottish Government.”

But just before 5pm on Wednesday, July 12, the BBC did respond. The corporation said it had reviewed the complaint and concluded that it had made an error.

“In light of your feedback, we have reviewed the headline and agree that 'legal' was not the right word to use,” the BBC wrote.

“The story’s headline has been updated and now reads: ‘Scottish government wants drug possession to be decriminalised’.

“In addition, we have acknowledged in the story that we made a change to the headline.”

As it stands, there is no mention of the error on the BBC’s corrections and clarifications page.

The corporation also published fortnightly complaints reports, with the next due out on Thursday July 20. The BBC has been asked if the error will be included there.

In an automatic reply sent to any complainants, the BBC says it aims to respond "within 10 working days (two weeks)".