Chief Constable Sir Stephen House spends last day in job

Sir Stephen House
Image caption Sir Stephen House had previously been chief constable of Strathclyde Police

Scotland's chief constable Sir Stephen House is due to step down after 35 years as a police officer.

His departure follows a turbulent time for Police Scotland.

Sir Stephen, 57, had been criticised for the force's expansion of its stop and search policy and failings related to a fatal crash on the M9.

Three people are vying for the job, two Police Scotland staff, Neil Richardson and Iain Livingstone, and Phil Gormley from the National Crime Agency.

During Sir Stephen's tenure, crime has continued to fall and detection rates have risen.

He also made it his priority to tackle domestic abuse and has been praised by campaigners for bringing the issue to the fore.

Mhiari McGowan, who is head of independent domestic abuse advocacy project Assist, told BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "He isn't the only police officer that took domestic abuse seriously, but what he did do was give strategic leadership and give a systematic approach.

"He insisted that every officer treated domestic abuse seriously and that has had a huge positive affect on thousands and thousands of victims across Scotland."

Previously, as the chief constable of Strathclyde Police he oversaw the complex amalgamation in 2013 of Scotland's eight regional police forces into the single national force - the second largest in the UK.

Sir Stephen House's career

  • 1981 - Joins the police force in Sussex
  • 1998 - Becomes assistant chief constable in Staffordshire
  • 2001 - Joins the Metropolitan Police Service
  • 2005 - Assistant commissioner at the Met
  • 2007 - Chief constable of Strathclyde Police
  • 2012 - Chief constable of new Police Scotland

Since then, he oversaw successes such as the policing of last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

But Sir Stephen - who is who is leaving nine months before his contract ends - was criticised over his decision to allow armed officers to attend routine incidents, as well as the force's policy on stopping and searching juveniles.

The force also came under pressure over its response to the M9 crash in July, in which John Yuill and his partner Lamara Bell died, after it took three days for officers to respond to reports of their car going off the road near Stirling.

Sir Stephen had previously indicated he was likely to stand down when his four-year contract expired in September next year.

Police Scotland told the BBC his successor was expected to be announced this week.

Who are the candidates for the Police Scotland job?

Image caption Iain Livingstone, Phil Gormley and Neil Richardson are vying for the Police Scotland job
  • Iain Livingstone - He was appointed Deputy Chief Constable for Police Scotland with responsibility for crime and operational support in December 2012. He joined Lothian and Borders Police in 1992 and served in detective and uniform roles in the City of Edinburgh and West Lothian.
  • Phil Gormley - He became deputy director general of the National Crime Agency in 2013. He began his policing career with Thames Valley Police in 1985, working in uniform and detective roles up to the rank of superintendent.
  • Neil Richardson - He joined Lothian and Borders Police in 1985 and worked in a number of police roles, including firearms. In November 2012, he was appointed to the post of Deputy Chief Constable (Designate) for Police Scotland.

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