Lothian and Borders Police lose their best man as Noel Miller chucks it

One of Scotland’s most respected press officers has resigned from his job after a decade.

Noel Miller had helped transform Lothian & Borders Police from something akin to the Keystone Cops to a slickly run, respected operation that hacks across Scotland and the UK have grown to trust.

But slowly in over recent months its reputation has become tarnished by some very strange goings on behind the scenes.

Not least Noel coming under surveillance from within police HQ at Fettes.

A provocative action leaving an unfounded stain on his character and professional reputation by those chasing ghosts.

It meant people like myself, even though no longer working for a paper, could have aroused suspicion if calling simply on account that I am a journalist to trade.

This despite the fact we support the same football club, have mutual friends and many other innocent reasons why we might be in touch.

Noel is a total pro. Fair, diligent and as helpful as he can be within the parameters of his position.

He would never expect me, as a reporter, to name a source anytime I have cause to contact him with an inquiry.

The same way I and my journalist colleagues would never expect him to cross the professional line in the sand he must observe.

It is why we spend so much time cultivating those contacts who do give us the tips that we can then run by the press office.

And why the mutual respect blossomed.

If he said information would be made available once it had been authorised, you took him at his word.

His treatment by the force has been nothing short of shocking. And they will be all the poorer without him as a consequence.

But this is only a brief summary of the own goal about to be scored.

It has been explained and presented far, far more eloquently by my former colleague Stephen Rafferty on this blog entry.

I leave it for your own good judgements to work out who the real villains of the piece are.

But it certainly isn’t Noel.

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