THE search is on for an HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary who is likely to oversee controversial changes to the force.

The job was advertised this weekwith a salary of GBP173,000 and a chauffeur-driven car.

The Scottish Executive is recruiting the HMCIC to replace Andrew Brown CBE, who retires in March 2007.

HMCIC is one of the key influences on Scottish government policy, as the leading independent authority on the police service and specialist advisor to the parliament.

As well as commanding the highest salary of any of the five HM Inspectorates in Scotland - which also include education, prisons, fire and prosecution - the HMCIC is the only inspector with the luxury of a private driver.

The pay packet eclipses that of the First Minister, who earns GBP123,161, and Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is paid GBP171,000.

A spokesman for the Justice Ministry said the salary was necessary to attract sufficiently-qualified candidates for the three-year post. Applicants must hold chief constable rank or equivalent.

The HMCIC writes regular reports on the operation of each of Scotland's eight forces, and carries out investigations into areas of special interest.

In the future this may include a report on an amalgamation of some of Scotland's eight forces, as proposed by Tom Buchan, president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents.

Mr Buchan believes the eight forces should be merged to form three or four to make them more effective - in the wake of a similar decision to reduce the 43 forces in England and Wales.

His proposal followed a report from HMI Constabulary which said that many forces could not provide adequate protective services to combat terrorism and organised crime, because they had fewer than 4000 officers.

Scotland's eight chief constables have said that mergers are unnecessary, so any such recommendation to ministers would put the new HMCIC in an unpopular position.

Douglas Osler, former HM Inspector of Education for Scotland, said: "If you are in that job it is your duty to say things which people may not like.

"The job of HMI has a great deal of influence because, unlike a senior civil servant, you are also a public face, and people will see what you report become public.

"There is a great deal of pressure to be accurate because you can destroy the credibility of a public body by issuing a report on poor evidence.

"When you are reviewing the effect of a policy implemented by a government minister, their reputation may be on the line. But never in my career did I come across any minister who encouraged me to alter any detail of my reports."

Clive Fairweather, 62, the former HMI Prisons for Scotland, spent eight years working full-time hours in a part-time position.

"I would not have achieved anything unless I got publicity for my reports so I spent a lot of time making sure my reports got attention in the media.

"My viewwas that as an HM Inspector you are working on behalf of the Scottish public, not the executive. I was making the public aware of what was going on in their prisons, not reporting to ministers on how their policies were faring.

"Whether the new HMCIC sees it that way is entirely a matter for their own judgment."

The post is likely to attract candidates from the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland (Acpos), with William Rae, Chief Constable of Strathclyde, a favourite.

Other contenders may come from Acpos's equivalent in England and Wales. They may include Peter Maddison, chief constable of Northamptonshire Police, and DrTim Brain, chief constable of Gloucestershire Police.

The inspectors: who they are and what they do

Name Andrew Brown CBE, 61,

Position HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary

Salary circa GBP170,000

CV Chief constable of Grampian Police from 1998-2004, when he took up his current post. Educated at Kelso High School, he joined the police cadets on leaving school.

Name Very Rev Dr Andrew McLellan, 61

Position HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland

Salary GBP51,000

CV Former prison chaplain took the job in 2002. He was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 2000/1. Educated at Kilmarnock Academy, St Andrews University and Glasgow.

Name Jeff Ord, 56,

Position HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Scotland Salary


CV Took the post in 2004 after five years as Firemaster, Strathclyde Fire Brigade. Mr Ord joined the fire service at age 18 after being educated at Realby School, Sunderland.

Name Graham Donaldson, 59

Position Senior Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland

Salary c.GBP90,000

CV Reached the top job in 2002 after six years as deputy. Educated at the High School of Glasgow and Glasgow University (MA, DipEd, MEd) Donaldson began his career as a teacher at Jordanhill college.

Name Joe O'Donnell, 55

Position Chief Inspector of Prosecution in Scotland

Salary GBP60,000

CV Formerly the procurator-fiscal at Ayr, and senior assistant procurator-fiscal at Glasgow, Mr O'Donnell was appointed in 2004, as first permanent Chief Inspector of the Independent Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland.