19/10/2018 11:07 BST | Updated 19/10/2018 13:50 BST

Police Scotland Inspector Claimed Female Firearms Officers 'Should Not Be Deployed Together When A Man Is On Duty'

Police Scotland inspector apologised after an internal email was leaked.

A leaked internal email appears to show a Police Scotland inspector claimed female firearms officers should not be deployed together when a man was on duty, citing physical capacity and “a balance of testosterone”.

The force said the officer who sent the message earlier this year, then a temporary inspector, has apologised for the “unacceptable” wording.

The email, seen by the BBC, reportedly read: “Im (sic) going to plunge in with both feet and open myself up to being accused of being sexist! 

“For operational reasons I don’t want to see 2 x female officers deployed together when there are sufficient male staff on duty.

“This is based on my experience in the firearms and routine policing environment, other than the obvious differencies (sic) in physical capacity, it makes more sense from a search, balance of testosterone perspective.

“If you want to discuss my door is open.”

PA Wire/PA Images

It concludes: “Ladies, For the purpose of transparency I have included you in this email.

“Likewise if you want to discuss my door is always open.”

Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said the language used in the email was “utterly intolerable”.

“That is not the kind of language I would expect any police officer, junior or senior, to be using but it will be for the chief constable, undoubtedly, to investigate and we will leave that in his hands,” he told BBC Scotland.

Police Scotland has 572 Authorised Firearms Officers – 539 male and 33 female.

Two former female firearms officers are taking legal action against the chief constable on the grounds of discrimination.

Chief Superintendent Matt Richards, divisional commander for specialist services, said: “The email was dealt with immediately and the matter was investigated fully.

“The officer fully accepts the wording was unacceptable and does not meet our values of fairness, integrity and respect.

“He was spoken to by senior management and issued with corrective advice. The officer has apologised and the matter was dealt with internally.”