THE scandal which effectively brought Dr Ian Oliver's police career to an end broke eight days ago with front-page tabloid newspaper photographs of the chief constable hugging and kissing a woman less than half his age in a remote woodland car park.

The revelations of his relationship with Sonja Cordiner, a mother of two and the wife of prominent Aberdeen garage owner Neil Cordiner, came just two days after a Grampian Police Board meeting when he had defended himself following a furore because he had been attending an international police conference in Taiwan when a social work report was published on the handling of the Scott Simpson murder case.

That morning, the chief constable was at his desk in the Queen Street headquarters of Grampian Police where he was visited by board chairman Dr Jurgen Thomaneck who carried with him the message from several board members that his only option was to ''throw himself on his sword''.

Later that day he returned to his home in the West End of Aberdeen where he remained until he re-emerged yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday was probably the last time Dr Oliver will be in confrontation with the councillors, some of whom have indicated they believe him to be arrogant and treats them with disdain.

Dr Oliver has never been afraid to speak his mind.

In 1993, he clashed with councillors over proposals to close 11 rural police stations and although they rejected part of his proposal, he bluntly told them they could retain the houses and stations but they would not be manned.

The following year, as president of the Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland, he made it clear that he did not accept Government assurances that it was not seeking state control of the police.

In 1995, he clashed with councillors over his apparent refusal to leave a meeting at which his pay was about to be discussed. That led to him formally demanding the retraction of remarks alleged to have been made by two councillors, before the matter was eventually settled ''internally''.

In February 1996, he clashed with councillors again after indicating in a newspaper article that he was prepared to allow Grampian to carry out a trial of CS gas sprays without consulting the board.

Then, in August that year he protested to Ulster Secretary Sir Patrick Mayhew in an unsuccessful bid to overturn a decision to drop him from the shortlist for the #100,000-a-year job as chief constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Since last summer he has been defending his force against criticism for their handling of the Scott Simpson murder inquiry.

That reached a peak last month, when Scottish Home Affairs Minister Henry McLeish criticised him for being in Taiwan.

Dr Oliver came out with guns blazing and defended himself and his force, and made it clear to the councillors and the Minister he believed he had nothing to apologise for.

Ian Oliver's police career began in the swinging sixties on the beat in London's East End.

The son of a policeman, it was not his first career choice, but when he did sign up his rise was meteoric.

His first job was as a trainee company secretary, but he quickly left and joined the RAF. However, after a year both he and the RAF decided the best place for him was with his feet on the ground and at 21 he joined the Metropolitan Police.

It was while in London he met his wife Elsie, who comes from Aberdeen, and was then a WPC in the Met.

In 1973, he joined Scotland Yard specialising in race and community relations and, in 1977, became superintendent at the Bramshill Police College, Hampshire, before moving to the Northumbria force the same year as a chief superintendent.

Almost a year later, he was appointed assistant chief constable and in 1979 became the youngest chief constable in the country when appointed to Central Scotland Police.

He was there for 11 years, during which time he was awarded the Queen's Police Medal for distinguished service, and completed a PhD in public administration at the University of Strathclyde before taking over Grampian's top job in 1990.

Dr Oliver is vice president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police whose conference is being held in Aberdeen in May, and is on the advisory committee on international policy on firearms, juvenile justice, membership, and terrorism.

The Olivers have three grown-up children: Stephanie, 32, Guy, 30 and Craig, 28.