SIR Iain Livingstone's successor as chief constable of Police Scotland is to be announced in the coming days, The Herald can reveal.

Police Scotland's deputy chief constable Malcolm Graham and the chief constable of Durham Constabulary Jo Farrell are understood to be the only two applicants for the £232,000 a year job.

The final interviews are understood to have taken place were conducted by a panel from the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

Members of the SPA met last night for an online meeting to discuss the final stages of the recruitment process in private.

"We are expecting an announcement on the appointment of the new chief constable in the next few days," a source told The Herald.

Ms Farrell came to prominence across the UK when her force cleared Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of breaking lockdown rules over "beergate".

Her contract was extended last June by three years, shortly before Labour leader Sir Keir and his deputy Angela Rayner were cleared of breaching lockdown regulations after being pictured drinking beer and eating a takeaway curry with party colleagues.

Sir Keir and Ms Rayner attended the event in Durham in April 2021 when strict lockdown rules were in place. Durham Police carried out a two-month investigation and concluded there had been no breach of the ban on indoor mixing as the gathering was work-related.

Ms Farrell later argued the 'Beergate' probe was necessary to maintain public confidence in policing and the decision to investigate was taken because of the 'weight of material' passed to the force.

In an interview last month Sir Iain, who has been chief constable since 2018 having served for a year as interim chief constable, was asked about his possible successor.

The Herald asked the chief constable, who retires this August, whether he thought it would it be better to have someone who was familiar with the political environment in which Police Scotland operated rather than someone from a different part of the UK.

"When a new chief constable is appointed the value for someone who knows policing in Scotland can at times be equal to somebody coming in with a fresh eye [with] experience we value from other jurisdictions," he said.

"Police Scotland is a magnet for talent right across the UK. We've appointed a number of assistant chief constables from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, people have joined us from the National Crime Agency, from Surrey, from the Metropolitan Police." 

Mr Graham, whose career began in 1995 at Lothian and Borders Police, was formerly assistant chief constable for major crime, public protection and local crime, when Police Scotland was created in 2013. He became Deputy Chief Constable in 2019.

When she was made Durham's Chief Constable in June 2019, Ms Farrell became the first woman to hold the £156,958-a-year post in the 180-year history of the force.
Ms Farrell started her career as a constable in Cambridge in 1991. Last year, she said: 'Although I don't have any family connection with the police, I always wanted to join and was so proud when I first became an officer.'

The role of chief constable of Police Scotland became available after Sir Iain dramatically announced he was quitting in February, two years ahead of his contract ending.

At the time, he warned his force was facing 'unsustainable' funding pressures. Sir Iain had previously said his officers would no longer be able to investigate certain crimes due to budgetary pressures and 'systemic under-funding'.

Last month he sensationally made the announcement in his final statement to the SPA that his force was "institutional racist".

He also robustly defended the long running police investigation into SNP's the finances and the search by his officers of former first minister Nicola Sturgeon's home. The search in April had been criticised as being very heavy handed and over the top.