An Ayrshire copper is facing a racism allegation after private messages to police colleagues were reported.

The 53-year-old police officer, understood to be a sergeant, was formally arrested and charged for an alleged racist communication sent to other officers on WhatsApp.

It is understood the officer, who is currently on restricted duties following the allegation, was then reported by one of his colleagues in Ayrshire-based U division to Police Scotland’s Professional Standards Department.

Police Scotland confirmed the arrest and added that racism in all its forms is 'unacceptable'.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "A 53-year-old police officer has been arrested and charged following a report of a racially offensive communication while off duty.

"Racism in all its forms is disgraceful and unacceptable. Police Scotland is committed to relentlessly improving how we reflect, represent and engage with our communities, and to ensuring Police Scotland’s 23,000 officers and staff uphold our values of human rights, fairness, integrity and respect."

Police Scotland can be contacted on 101, in an emergency always dial 999.