Search Starts To Find New Top Scot Cop

Scotland's crisis-hit police force is looking for an "exceptional leader'' to be its next chief constable.

The Scottish Police Authority (SPA) has launched a recruitment campaign to find the successor to Sir Stephen House.

It comes after Sir Stephen announced he would be stepping down as chief constable of Police Scotland by the end of the year.

His departure is earlier than planned and comes after a series of high-profile incidents saw the police chief facing calls to resign.

Police Scotland came under fire following the M9 collision in July in which Lamara Bell, 25, and John Yuill, 28, died. The couple spent three days in their crashed car after a call to police was not properly logged, prompting Sir Stephen to issue an apology to the families.

The force has also faced criticism over issues such as its stop-and-search tactics, armed police and the death of 31-year-old Sheku Bayoh in custody.

SPA chair Andrew Flanagan said there would be ``challenges'' for whoever is appointed to the #212,280 a year job that he described as a ``career-defining post''.

Mr Flanagan stated: ``From today, candidates to be Police Scotland's next chief constable have the opportunity to throw their hat into the ring.

``The Scottish Police Authority is seeking an exceptional leader to take forward the next phase of police service transformation in Scotland.

``With homicide rates at their lowest levels and recorded crime at a 41-year low, the new chief will have a strong platform on which to develop innovative solutions to the prevention and detection of crime.

``Of course, there are challenges too. Our police workforce has spoken recently about their experience of the new policing arrangements. There are things we need to improve.

``So, I want the new chief to develop a working environment that will inspire and energise officers and staff to deliver services in new and flexible ways, and with the active participation of local communities.''

After a staff survey found a third of those in Police Scotland want to leave within the next three years, Mr Flanagan said that ``those shortlisted for the job can expect to be challenged on how they would personally address the central issues within the recent workforce survey''.

He added: ``This is a job that is under a bright and sustained public spotlight. That comes with the territory but it brings opportunities too.

``I am looking for someone to positively use that place in the public eye. To become one of the most influential public-sector leaders in Scotland and champion the kind of partnerships that really improve outcomes for people.''

The SPA expects to announce who the new chief constable will be early in December.

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