Scotland’s most senior police officer is to extend his time in the top job for three more years, the Press and Journal understands.
In an exclusive interview, Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone strongly indicated he will stay on in his position and lead the UK’s second-largest police service into 2025.
The role, which carries a four-year term and a salary of over £225,000, was taken up officially by Mr Livingstone in August 2018.
Under the current agreement, his contract would run out in August 2022.
However, the chief constable’s term can be extended for a maximum of three years.
Police chief looks to drive improvements in ‘coming years’
When asked about his future plans, Mr Livingstone stated that he was “committed to continuing to drive improvements in policing in the coming years”.
He said: “When I undertook the responsibilities of Chief Constable, policing in Scotland had significant challenges and needed the stability that now exists.
“The last four years have underlined the relentless nature of policing and, in my view, the stability of the senior leadership team has been important in responding to the intense demands presented, not least the pandemic.
“I have no doubt the public we serve benefit from a police service with consistent and clear leadership and I am personally committed to continuing to drive improvements in policing in the coming years.
“I’m grateful to the whole leadership team for their commitment and support in that work.”
Aberdeen University graduate Mr Livingstone served as Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable from late 2012 to 2017 before taking up the top job on August 27 2018.
Livingstone credited with balancing budget while retaining officers
Mr Livingstone leads a force of more than 17,200 police officers and manages a budget of almost £1.3 billion.
He has been credited with leading Police Scotland to a balanced budget in 2021 without reducing officer numbers, as has happened in England and Wales.
“We managed to maintain our officer numbers and that did mean that we had to make savings in other areas, such as support staff”, Mr Livingstone said.
“Some of it was by taking out senior officers because they are more expensive than constables and people doing operational work – so we made that change.
“I’ve said it before, but I’d like to see more capital investment come into policing and that’s partly to improve our estate, improve our fleet and crucially improve our information and communication technology infrastructure.”
Mr Livingstone said he and his leadership team are committed to tackling a range of issues and challenges, such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, diversity and gender equality within the police service and staff wellbeing.
He added: “Since I’ve become chief constable one of my main commitments has been about getting back into the wellbeing of officers and staff.
“The reason for that isn’t because of excessive altruism, we do need to look after people – there is a moral and ethical duty to do that.
“But, I’d also argue, that if we’re not looking after each other, then how can we look after our fellow citizens?”