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Last Updated: Friday, 2 February 2007, 15:42 GMT
Force criticised in secret report
Police report
Sections of the report have been blanked out
A confidential report has criticised how a police force investigated the death of a young Wick man 10 years ago.

The body of Kevin McLeod was found in Wick Harbour in February 1997. His family believe it was not an accident.

The review - parts of which have now been made public - said some procedures followed by Northern Constabulary "should be considered inappropriate".

Police said data protection prohibited the report being published in full, meaning its full context was lost.

The review was compiled by Central Scotland Police's Chief Constable Andrew Cameron and released under Freedom of Information rules, following a request from Mr McLeod's family.

Ch Const Cameron's report looked at how Northern handled complaints into the way its officers investigated Mr McLeod's death.

The report clearly states that my officers have been subject to a series of allegations, which have been shown to have no basis in fact, and, on examination, do not have any credibility
Chief Constable Ian Latimer

However, within it was criticism of some procedures.

How a Sudden Deaths - Station Register Form OP/50/8 was completed was described as setting "more questions to the enquiry team than answers".

It also "clouded the issues" surrounding the disposal of Mr McLeod's clothing.

On page 278 of the 284-page document, Ch Const Cameron further highlighted this particular area of concern.

He said: "It is the view of this enquiry that the procedures which were implemented by Northern Constabulary, in relation to the initial search of Kevin McLeod's body following his death in February 1997 should be considered inappropriate for the reasons previously discussed.

"The failure of the force to seize, retain and submit for examination the clothing worn by Kevin McLeod at the time of his death remains inexplicable."

However, Ch Const Cameron added that the force had undertaken "much good work" to improve the quality of its investigatory response".

The senior officer, who was asked by Northern to carry out the review, said Mr McLeod's family were entitled to an apology "over the patent lack of communication in respect of their complaints".

Kevin McLeod
Kevin McLeod had been on a night out when he died

The family have called for Northern's chief constable Ian Latimer to resign.

In a statement, Ch Const Latimer conceded that some complaints made against his officers could have been handled more professionally and that lessons had been learned.

But he also said: "The report clearly states that my officers have been subject to a series of allegations, which have been shown to have no basis in fact, and, on examination, do not have any credibility."


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