FIFE Council confirmed yesterday that former Royal Ulster Constabulary officer John Hamilton would succeed long-serving Bill Moodie as chief constable.

The appointment ends a five-month hunt during which there were so few initial applicants that the post had to be re-advertised and the permission of the Secretary of State for Scotland sought to enable Mr Moodie, who should have retired in April, to remain for an extra six months.

Mr Hamilton, who is currently deputy director general of the National Criminal Intelligence Service, joined the RUC in 1963 and rose through the ranks with the force before being appointed assistant chief constable for Greater Manchester in 1990.

Mr Hamilton was one of four senior officers on a short-leet of candidates.

Mr Hamilton, who is married with two children, said, ``I am absolutely delighted to succeed in achieving the post and look forward to building on what Mr Moodie has achieved over many years.''

It has not been announced when Mr Hamilton, who has a five-year contract, will take command.