Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police installed to nationwide role
Stephen House has been appointed as the first head of the new Police Service of Scotland, the Scottish Government announced today.
House, currently Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, will take up the new role this autumn after beating four other candidates to the £208,100 post.
He had been one of the frontrunners to take over as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police last year but lost out to Bernard Hogan-Howe, who secured Britain’s most high-profile policing position.
But as the first Chief Constable of the single Scottish police force, House has been installed in the second biggest policing job.
“I am delighted to accept this new and exciting post. My views on the creation of a single Police Service of Scotland have been widely publicised so it gives me great professional pride to be trusted with the responsibility for developing and leading the new service,” he said.
House said the priority of the new service will be to continue “keeping people safe” as well as tackling organised crime and violence.
And he insisted that local policing will be “at the heart” of the new force’s focus, but added: “There are changes to make and these will not be easy. We need to organise ourselves better. We need to tackle inconsistencies in national systems and procedures, while backing the local discretion of commanders to deal with local issues.”
Welcoming the appointment, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: “Stephen House has the skills and experience to lead the service as we embark on this new era – I am confident he will be an outstanding first Chief Constable. He has an impressive track record of leadership, partnership working and delivery.”
House will inherit a police service which is performing “excellently”, MacAskill insisted, where crime is at a 37-year low.
Vic Emery, Chair of the Scottish Police Authority, which will hold the new force to account and provide strategic direction, said: “I am delighted to welcome Stephen House as the first Chief Constable of the new Police Service of Scotland. He will bring a wealth of experience and authority to the role.
He added: “It will be the Authority’s role to be a national voice on policing so that we make the right national choices. We will ensure the Police Service of Scotland retains a powerful focus on the needs of the people we serve and that’s a fundamental principle that I know Mr House shares.”
The other contenders were Tayside Chief Constable Justine Curran, Grampian Chief Constable Colin McKerracher, Lothian and Borders Chief Constable David Strang and John Vine, Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.