Iain Livingstone has been named as the third chief constable of Police Scotland.

The front-runner for the post had been running the force since the absence and then resignation of his predecessor Phil Gormley.

Mr Livingstone, a trained lawyer, had been seen as a safe pair of hands after a turbulent period.

The Scottish Police Authority picked Mr Livingstone after interviews this week and with the approval of Scottish ministers. 

The new chief constable will formally take up his post on Monday 27 August. The appointment will be for a fixed term of four years.

Susan Deacon, the former Labour minister who chairs the SPA and the selection panel, said: "The decision follows an extremely rigorous and robust selection process which has involved a range of external advice and inputs."

HeraldScotland: Susan Deacon

Susan Deacon

She added: “Iain Livingstone is an outstanding police leader who has made an exceptional contribution to policing in Scotland.

"I am confident that as Chief Constable, working together with a recently strengthened leadership team, he will provide renewed stability, purpose and direction to Police Scotland after a demanding and challenging period.

“This is a significant milestone in our continued efforts to strengthen the leadership and governance of policing in Scotland.

"I look forward to working with Iain Livingstone and his team as we continue to develop policing to keep people safe and meet the needs of a changing Scotland.”

The announcement marks a dramatic turnaround in Mr Livingstone's career. Less than a year ago he said he would retire. He had failed to get the top job - despite being widely tipped - when Mr Gormley succeeded. 

Insiders stress that Mr Livingstone had been left bearing the brunt of operational decision-making during Mr Gormley's tenure, which ended after multiple allegations of bullying.

Mr Gormley denied any wrongdoing and left the force before investigations were completed.

Mr Livingstone said: “I am extremely proud and humbled to be appointed as Scotland’s next chief constable. It is a great responsibility and opportunity to lead a 22,000 strong team of dedicated and committed professionals, and to harness their ideas and potential in the service of the people of Scotland.

"Policing has been my life and the demands on it are developing faster today than at any time in my career. It is my job now to lead and drive change in policing to adapt to those challenges and to build on the values, ethos and traditions of policing in Scotland that first attracted me to this profession 26-years ago.”

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, who approved the SPA’s appointment, said: “Iain has demonstrated he has the right qualities to lead Police Scotland as the service continues to enhance its ability to tackle crime and keep people safe."

Mr Livingstone has been Police Scotland’s Deputy Chief Constable Designate, a formal No 2 in the force, since May 2016. Previously he was Deputy Chief Constable for Crime and Operations since Police Scotland was formed in 2013.

He graduated in law from the Universities of Aberdeen and Strathclyde, working as a solicitor in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London before joining the police in 1992. Prior to the formation of Police Scotland, he served with Lothian and Borders Police.  

His career has included external attachments to the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland as a special investigator, to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary as a member of Lord Bonomy’s review of corroboration, and he currently sits on the Scottish Sentencing Council. He was awarded the Queens Police Medal in May 2015.