POLICE Scotland Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone has announced he is stepping down after nearly six years in the top job.

He joined the then Lothian and Borders force, in 1992 and rose to the top of the Scotland-wide force as interim chief in September 2017 after  acting chief after Phil Gormley was suspended during an investigation into gross misconduct allegations, which he denied before quitting.

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Since then the 56-year-old, who was knighted in January during a ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, has led Police Scotland through the coronavirus crisis, during the Cop 26 climate summit in Glasgow, and oversaw the force’s role following the death of the Queen.

Earlier today (Thursday February 23 2023) Sir Iain told a meeting of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA): “I have decided to retire from the office of chief constable later this year. I will retire from policing in the summer.

“The police officers and police staff of Police Scotland are outstanding. Leading them as chief constable to serve the people of Scotland has been the honour of my working life.

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 “Our single national service in Scotland represents major public sector reform and has delivered significant value to the public and best value to the public purse.

“Operational competence has greatly benefited, a clear example of that being a record of responding and investigating and solving murders and our response to major events.

“I consider the stability which now exists will endure through and also enable a managed transition to a new chief constable over the coming months.

“I will work relentlessly to ensure this occurs.”

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Scottish Secretary Alister Jack thanked Sir Iain for his “long and dedicated service with Police Scotland”.

The minister added: “He has played a key role in ensuring the security of the whole of the United Kingdom as part of the UK’s police family.”

Sir Iain’s retirement announcement came as he and Lynn Brown, chief executive of the SPA, presented a paper to the meeting which warns policing north of the border is “unsustainable” given the latest cash settlement from Holyrood.

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“Police Scotland has often absorbed the impact of wider public sector financial challenges and is taking responsibility in situations where the police service is not the most appropriate service to respond,” the paper said.

“This position is unsustainable in the long-term and detracts from the ability to intervene effectively at the critical end of risk and harm.”

Police Scotland is the UK’s second biggest force, with 23,000 officers and staff.