A CITY MSP has accused police of lacking of transparency and accountability after a warning was issued about the presence of one of our reporters.

Annie Wells raised concerns after a city council clerk halted a public meeting to warn one of Glasgow’s top cops about revealing facts in the presence of Evening Times reporter Eddie Harbinson.

Inspector Craig Walker had intended to present a list of crime statistics to members of the Springburn and Robroyston Area Partnership.

But those in attendance were instead given vague indications of whether crime rates were up or down after the clerk stopped the meeting to let Inspector Walker know that the facts may be reported if he read them out.

And councillors were then told that they would only be given the full breakdown of statistics for the north Glasgow areas in private.

The move was criticised by MSP Annie Wells, the Scottish Tories Glasgow representative.

Ms Wells said: “It’s commonplace for journalists to attend such public meetings, and that is a key make-up of local democracy in action.

“If anything, the police should be embracing this interest, not stifling it.

“Police Scotland is increasingly getting a reputation for a lack of transparency and accountability, and this incident is direct proof of that.”

The inspector did reveal there had been a “slight increase” in violent crime, including serious assaults and common assaults.

And there had been an increase in the number of Valium pills being discovered.

Inspector Walker also said that reporting of anti-social behaviour and alcohol related incidents in the north side of Glasgow had been “less than last year”.

He said that hate crime figures presented a “similar picture” to last year.

And Inspector Walker said that there had been a reduction in housebreakings.

But neither the exact figures for last year or this year in any crimes were revealed following the council clerk’s apparent intervention.

Asked whether it was normal practice for local authority staff to stop public meetings to warn participants that there was a journalist in the room, a Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “It is clearly beneficial to communities when the media takes an interest in local decision making.

“However, until very recently, it was extremely rare that press or other members of the public would attend certain meetings – and has become apparent that, in some cases, people taking part have not been aware that they were speaking publicly.

“We have a responsibility to make sure participants understand that they are addressing an open meeting.

“While it may have been preferable for this to have been done prior to the meeting, there was no intention to stop anyone from speaking or to alter the nature of their contribution.”