THE race is on to become Scotland’s first national chief constable after the £208,000-a-year role was advertised by the Scottish Government.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill described the post as “one of the most demanding and high-profile policing posts in the UK”.
Sources at Strathclyde Police, currently Scotland’s largest force, said its chief constable, Stephen House, is likely to apply.
Eight regional forces will merge into one in April, creating the UK’s second biggest force, with more than 17,000 officers and 6,500 support staff serving the whole of Scotland.
But critics have said the new chief’s salary is too large and “difficult to stomach” at a time of cutbacks.
Mr House earns £178,431 a year at Strathclyde. Another contender, Colin McKerracher, is paid £143,000 a year as chief constable of Grampian.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, whose party opposed plans to merge to a single force, said: “Many will find the eye-watering £208,000 salary difficult to stomach.”
Graeme Pearson, a Labour MSP who was formerly director general of the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency, added: “It’s hard to understand why a public servant requires more than £200,000 to run the police service. My view is that the job is that people should be motivated by public service rather than the size of the pay.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents has hinted that the successful candidate should already be working in Scotland.
Chief superintendent David O’Connor, the group’s president, said: “We need the person who fills this post to be someone who will hit the ground running and to have a good working knowledge of policing in Scotland.”