SENIOR Police Scotland personnel made disparaging comments about the NHS contact tracing app, despite encouraging cops to use it, the police union has claimed.

The Scottish Police Federation (SPF) backs the use of the app but claimed that “senior personnel” in Police Scotland’s health and safety group said the app was “haphazard, unreliable and inaccurate”.

It accused senior members of the force of having “casual disregard for the health and safety of officers” and said that Police Scotland was ignoring the dangers faced by ordinary police on the streets.

David Hamilton, chair of the SPF, said: “Police Scotland needs to wake up to the risk and exposure that its operational officers are facing.

“This reckless ‘ostrich-ing’ needs to stop and Police Scotland should publicly join us in encouraging all operational officers to use this helpful technology.”

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf defended the force and said he did not recognise the police union’s description of Police Scotland.

He added: “Like the SPF, Police Scotland supports the introduction of the Protect Scotland app and like any employer they are carefully considering its use in different operational circumstances.

“We know that Protect Scotland is working, and the Scottish Government continues to encourage everyone to download and use the Test and Protect app if they have a compatible smartphone, joining the more than 1.4 million people who have already done so.”

Some workers, such as bus drivers and some healthcare workers are told to turn off the app, for fear of generating “false positives”. Workers who spend all day in medical-grade PPE in clinical settings or behind protective screens are told to pause the app during working hours.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: "The safety and welfare of our officers and staff has been a concern and high priority since the pandemic began and any suggestion to the contrary is both misleading and wholly inaccurate. We have worked tirelessly to ensure our people have the support they need as they continue to play a vital role in the national effort to combat coronavirus.

"Police Scotland fully supports the Protect Scotland app and officers and staff are encouraged to download it on personal devices. Suggesting otherwise is a deliberate and dangerous misrepresentation of the truth.

“We are considering whether or not officers should be advised to use the pause function on the app during specific duties to minimise the risk of them being told to self-isolate when the exposure risk has actually been mitigated by PPE and operational guidance, which clearly the app cannot discern. In addition, we are assessing how best to use the app on police-issued mobile devices before a decision is taken on installing it on them."