Police chief rejects criticism

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The Independent Online
THE HEAD of Lothian and Borders police defended his force against criticism and promised that policing of the European heads-of-government summit in Edinburgh would be carried out 'properly and professionally'.

Sir William Sutherland, chief constable of the force which was criticised following a break-in at its own headquarters, said the December summit would be a 'successful' policing operation.

Official embarrassment over the break-in two weeks ago, when documents were stolen from the Scottish Crime Squad's office, was compounded by controversy last week when a reporter was arrested, and a second detained for six hours, before being released.

The break-in was first attributed to the Animal Liberation Front by callers to Scottish newspapers. But the ALF disowned the raid after claims that stolen documents were passed on to the IRA and UVF, the loyalist terrorist organisation.

Two Scottish newspaper editors were meeting Sir William yesterday for talks on the affair.

The reporter arrested, Ron McKay of Scotland on Sunday, was charged with reset, the Scottish offence of handling or involvement with stolen property, and has since been remanded at a court appearance.

Sir William, facing questions from journalists in Edinburgh, said he did not seek to make any excuse for the break-in, but the force's reputation had suffered 'unfairly'.

Mr McKay's arrest was as a result of a warrant obtained by the procurator fiscal for Edinburgh, he said.

His officers dealt with more Royal visits and other high-security operations than any force outside London, he added.

'We have always been successful in doing our duties, and you may be sure that the Edinburgh summit will be no less successful than we have been in the past,' Sir William said.

'The summit will be wellpoliced and the force will carry out its duties professionally and properly in every way.'