SNP finances investigation: Police Scotland chief constable warns against 'uninformed speculation' on probe amid claims of 'integrity'
The investigation into the SNP’s finances is being conducted with “integrity”, the chief constable of Police Scotland has said, while warning against “uninformed speculation” on the case.
In his first public comments on the investigation, Sir Iain Livingstone also said there must not be any political interference in the investigation.
He mentioned Operation Branchform – the police probe into the SNP’s funding and finances – at a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority’s board on Thursday.
He said: “Police investigations must be allowed to progress without any form of political interference.”
Police decisions will always be taken in accordance with the rule of law rather than political or constitutional matters, he added.
Sir Iain said: “Under Operation Branchform, a dedicated team of officers from Police Scotland’s specialist crime division continue their investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party.
“A diligent, thorough and proportionate criminal inquiry is being conducted with integrity.
“Two individuals have been arrested and subsequently released without charge, pending further investigation, investigations which continue.”
The chief constable said he recognises there is a high level of interest in the case, but he urged against speculation which could undermine the inquiry.
Timescales of the probe will be set by investigative considerations rather than political ones, he said.
He continued: “I would request, I would urge, all civic leaders – if offering any comment or thoughts on what is a live investigation, to act with prudence and responsibility.
“Wholly inaccurate assertions and uninformed speculation will only serve to damage justice, infringe the rights of individuals and undermine the rule of law.”
Both men were released without charge pending further investigation.
On Wednesday, former first minister Ms Sturgeon described the developments as “unexpected and unwelcome”.
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