Police Scotland is failing to challenge bad behaviour and misconduct in the force is underreported, according to a new watchdog report.

The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) report warns of "an unwillingness to challenge unacceptable behaviour", as well as finding that trainee officers feel "ill-equipped" to deal with the job.

While overall culture has improved since the force's early days, morale has been low since former Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said the force was institutionally racist and discriminatory.

The report, named HMICS Inspection of Organisational Culture within Police Scotland, recognised the financial constraints within the force.

"Resourcing and budget pressures remain, with a resultant lack of investment in improvements," said His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary Craig Naylor, the author of the report.

He added: "Reform of this scale in Scotland has not been attempted beyond police and fire and while the funding and workforce in most public sectors has grown, in policing it has shrunk."

The report assessed whether or not Police Scotland has a healthy organisational culture, finding problems with how new police officers feel on the job.

It said: "Probationers have a strong sense of belonging while undergoing training but once on the front line feel ill-equipped for the challenges of their role, a disconnect between their training, the actual job and disillusionment with the reality of supporting the vulnerable and those with mental health issues rather than fighting crime."

Upon reading the report, Deputy Chief Constable Alan Speirs said: "We're already making progress by bringing more transparency through the publication of conduct proceedings, working to improve our grievance procedures and delivery of leadership training across the organisation.

"The chief constable has also been clear about the impact that financial pressures are placing on our hard-working officers and staff, and she has set out what additional funding we need from the Scottish government to enable us to restart officer recruitment for the year ahead.

"In the meantime, we will carefully consider how this report can further inform our commitment to a culture of continuous improvement across everything we do."

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