POLICE officers will no longer be able to resign to avoid disciplinary hearings under proposed new laws.

The Scottish Government’s Police (Ethics, Conduct and Scrutiny) Bill has been introduced to Parliament to ensure allegations of misconduct are dealt with more transparently and effectively.

It also seeks to strengthen public confidence in the standards of police conduct.

If passed, it would also see the outcomes of misconduct hearings published online, and officers found guilty will be banned from re-employment in policing.

Officers facing allegations would be placed on an advisory list to ensure they cannot resign to avoid being held to account.

The role of the independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) would be significantly enhanced to oversee the new code of ethics.

The proposed overhaul followed the consultation by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini’s independent review in 2020.

In its implementation, the bill would deliver the majority of the remaining legislative recommendations made by Angiolini, who called for increased transparency and accountability in the complaints process.

Figures published by the BBC earlier this year revealed 47 officers in Scotland had resigned or retired during misconduct proceedings against them since 2019, while there were 332 allegations of gross misconduct and 1182 misconduct complaints.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “Scotland is well served by the exceptional dedication and commitment of Scotland’s police officers and the work they do every day to keep communities safe.

“However, if things go wrong, the police must be held to account and improvements made. The principle of policing by consent, so central to our justice system, is built on this accountability. It is also in the interests of both the public and of the policing family.

“This bill, if passed, will help strengthen public confidence; for example, by ensuring police officers can no longer resign to avoid being held to account for gross misconduct allegations against them.

“The vital safeguards set out in this legislation will enhance the professional service already delivered by officers, as they perform their privileged duties to keep us all safe.”