Scotland

Police Scotland: New chief constable Phil Gormley sworn in

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Media captionChief constable Phil Gormley says the job is the "pinnacle" of his career

The new head of Police Scotland has been formally sworn in during a ceremony at the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan Castle in Fife.

Phil Gormley has taken over from Sir Stephen House, who stood down as chief constable at the end of November after three years in the job.

Mr Gormley was previously the deputy director of the National Crime Agency.

He has also served as the chief constable of Norfolk Police.

And he was responsible for the merger of Special Branch and the Anti-Terrorist Branch to form the Counter-Terrorism Command while working as a commander with the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Gormley, who will receive a salary of about £212,000 a year, described his new job as the pinnacle of his policing career.

'Profound transformation'

The new chief constable said: "It's an honour to have been selected to lead Police Scotland.

"I'm acutely aware of the significant responsibility and expectation that comes with role."

"This is one of the most demanding jobs in British policing and I feel immensely proud to have been chosen to lead the men and women of Police Scotland through the next stage of its journey."

He added: "There is no doubt we are in a challenging financial environment - despite the savings already made, it is my responsibility working with colleagues to deliver the best service possible with the available resources.

"This will require difficult decisions but I am determined that we will develop a service the public trust and have confidence in and which our officers and staff are proud to provide."


Image copyright PA

Phil Gormley's career

  • 1985 - Began policing career in Thames Valley Police
  • 2003 - 2007 - Commander, Metropolitan Police Service, responsible for firearms and aviation security, then for special branch and counter terrorism.
  • 2007 - 2010 - Deputy Chief Constable, West Midlands Police
  • 2010 - 2013 - Chief Constable, Norfolk Constabulary
  • 2012 - Awarded the Queen's Police Medal
  • 2013 - 2015 Deputy Director General, National Crime Agency

Source - Scottish Police Authority


Mr Gormley takes over in the wake of criticism of the force's policies on issues including stop-and-search and armed officers, as well as its handling of the M9 crash near Stirling in July that left two people dead after officers took three days to respond.

Police Scotland officers are also being investigated over Sheku Bayoh's death in custody in Kirkcaldy last May.

The Scottish Police Federation, which represents the vast majority of the force's officers, has warned Mr Gormley that he will be operating in a financial climate that has never been more difficult.

And it has said he will be facing a workforce that has recently reported "unprecedented high levels of dissatisfaction with the job".

Image copyright Brian D Osborne
Image caption Mr Gormley was sworn in at Police Scotland's Tulliallan Castle headquarters

Concerns have also been expressed about Mr Gormley, who faced competition for the top job from Police Scotland deputy chief constables Iain Livingstone and Neil Richardson, having spent his entire career in England.

But the Scottish Police Authority said it was confident it had appointed the best person for the job of "building on the progress that policing in Scotland has made, and to address the issues and challenges that the service faces".

And Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has said that Mr Gormley brings with him a "wealth of experience in policing communities across the UK, including an extensive background in counter-terrorism"

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes said Mr Gormley must begin work immediately to address the challenges facing the force.

She said: "I have sought an early meeting with him to discuss how he plans to ensure officers and staff get the support they need to do their jobs well and enjoy them but the SPA and Scottish government must also ensure they provide the resources required.

"The public's faith in Police Scotland must be restored and steps taken right away to get the force back on track."

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