Sunday Mail spy scandal: Cops who were targeted by Police Scotland's controversial internal affair unit tell their stories

Amanda's story

A police officer wrongly accused of breaching data protection rules yesterday revealed the stress of being investigated by the Counter Corruption Unit caused her to lose a baby.

Constable Amanda Daly called for an inquiry into the tactics and operational conduct of the unit’s officers as we reveal they are set to be disbanded.

She claims she was branded a “wee bitch” by one of the unit’s officers during an interview, after refusing to give evidence against her then partner Andrew Reid, 36, another constable.

Both officers were charged over claims they looked at police computer records after being attacked while off-duty in 2009.

The criminal case against them was thrown out of court last year – after almost six years and 35 hearings.

Daly, 35, raised a grievance against the unit with the force’s HR department in August 2014 but says she is still waiting for a response.

While she is still employed, she says her dream job with the police is in tatters and the investigation has ruined her life.

Daly, from Giffnock, near Glasgow, said: “I have lost my career, friends, a relationship and a baby because of this.

“In May 2010, Andy and I were detained by the CCU. The man and woman who interviewed me told me that unless I gave them details – made up stories basically – that I was going to end up in jail.

“They asked me if he was violent towards me, which for anyone who knows him is a joke. It’s clear they were after him.

“Everybody knows that they can’t detain people accused of data protection breaches so it became standard practice to make up more serious charges to allow them to do this, in the knowledge they would never stack up. I was six weeks’ pregnant when I was detained. Three days later, I miscarried. They went to my doctor and asked him to confirm I was pregnant.

“As if I would lie about it. My doctor couldn’t believe it.

“He refused to tell them anything about my medical records.”

Both officers have taken the force to employment tribunals while Reid has lodged a defamation claim against them.

They have been on restricted duties since first being detained almost seven years ago.

Daly said: “We became worried when Andy’s colleagues started being brought in by members of the CCU and threatened.

“They were told their houses were going to be turned, they were told they were going to lose their jobs.

“Andy’s mum was detained and the stress caused her to collapse.

“They were determined to get something out of me but it was a no-comment interview that I gave.

“One of the female inspectors called me a “wee bitch” during my no-comment interview.

“At the end of it, a DI from the unit came in and told me that he was going to make sure that my career was over.

“I was told I would go to Cornton Vale and lose my family.

“Since my initial detention, I was locked out of every police computer system. I couldn’t do my job. I sat for months looking at a blank screen.

“I am still not allowed on the street, even though I was acquitted. They will not give me a reason as to why I am so heavily restricted.

“I took a grievance out against the CCU in August 2014 and the HR department are still dealing with it.

“I think because we have made so many complaints about them, they are determined not to give us
anything. I am a glorified admin assistant and I have been for the last six years. I used to love my job and I was pretty good at it as well. They have taken that away from me.

“Andy and I aren’t together any more. It has ruined our relationship. We were both under so much stress.

“I have been on medication since 2010. I was never at the doctor before that but I suffered from
anxiety attacks and lost my confidence.

“I am still employed but I am paranoid. If they come after me again I am worried I could have another six years like this.

“None of the people who I was on a shift with talk to me any more. I had a really close friend and she said to me, ‘I can’t be in contact with you – you are in the s*** up to your neck.’

“They have destroyed people’s lives and they get away with it because there is a lack of scrutiny.”

Daly says there should be a public inquiry into the unit even after it is disbanded. She added: “If
somebody makes a complaint, officers should be investigated and if they are found to have done wrong, they should be punished.

“But this unit was out of control. I have spoken to many others who had dealings with them and agree with me. It is only now though that people have really started to listen.

“People in the unit who were investigating me have been promoted – twice in some cases.

“There should be a full inquiry. In my opinion, there have been crimes committed – attempts to pervert the course of justice, threatening people. People need to start asking why.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “PC Daly is currently the subject of misconduct matters which precludes further comment at this time.”

Robert's story

Robert McAteer was a beat officer with a promising career ahead of him when he became involved in a relationship with a civilian worker.

The affair ended and the worker told him in a work email in 2009 that she had a new boyfriend – one with a criminal background.

She directed McAteer to an intelligence report about the man.

McAteer, 36, said he spent 30 seconds reading the report and it cost him his career after the Strathclyde force’s Professional Standards Unit, the predecessor to the CCU, got involved.

He said: “You can’t be detained for a data protection breach, which is punishable usually by a fine.

“So they also accused me of an attempt to pervert the course of justice – which was complete rubbish and they knew it.

“What I did was wrong. But I acted out of nosiness. I told Tracey to ‘be careful’ and I thought no more of it.

“I was detained for seven-and-a-half hours and my house was searched under warrant. They smashed it to pieces.

“I have been given new legal advice that what I did may not have been a breach. But even if it was, their actions have been disproportionate.”

McAteer, from Knightswood, Glasgow, admitted the breach and was fined £1000. He was then asked to resign.

He said: “I don’t think it should have cost me my career.

“I have spoken to too many people who have had similar experiences.”

John's story

John Sallens had a successful police career, rising to detective sergeant and earning three commendations for bravery.

One came for his work on the Glasgow Airport bombings.

But the 51-year-old was moved off the Serious Crime Squad while on sick leave and asked to drop contact with friends who were under investigation.

He refused to do so and eventually retired from the Strathclyde force because of the investigation by the Professional Standards Unit, the precursor to the CCU.

He said: “Their tactics are nothing short of shocking … like a rogue police unit from the 1970s.

“They bully and intimidate and make threats.

“I was placed under investigation in 2011 and I am still waiting to be formally told why. I have never been charged with anything.

“I am friends with many officers who have come under investigation with this unit and they are a law unto themselves.

“They may be being disbanded but there needs to be a major investigation into some of the practices of this unit.”