The chief constable of Scotland's new single police force has started visiting police stations around the country to discuss potential job losses.

Stephen House said the merger of the eight forces could lead to 3000 support staff losing their job when he was announced as chief constable last week.

He has now been sworn in to his new position, at the Scottish Police College in Tulliallan, becoming the first officer in the new Police Service of Scotland which comes into effect on April 1 next year.

Mr House, former chief constable of Strathclyde Police, said he started to visit offices in the Central Scotland force area last week and aims to meet as many staff as possible over the next few weeks.

"The cuts are potential, and that's the thing to be focusing on. I understand that it's really concerning for people that their jobs are under threat but I think what would be worse would be pretending that that's not the situation. At the moment we don't know exactly how many jobs need to go," he said.

"I think the Government has been very clear in the undertaking that jobs will be lost voluntarily and that it won't be forced redundancies."

He added: "In all honesty, I expect to spend most of my time talking to support staff because quite clearly they have more concerns about the future than police officers have. Police officers' jobs are relatively secure so it's important we spend time with support staff to try and help them understand the situation."

Mr House was head of Strathclyde Police since 2007 and also held senior positions with the Metropolitan Police. The 54-year-old will be paid a salary of £208,000 in his new post.

Local policing will not suffer under the centralised force, Mr House said.

Strathclyde Police Authority has appointed Campbell Corrigan as Acting Chief Constable.