New Police Scotland chief constable says focus remains on serving the public

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has praised the professionalism and commitment of officers working for Police Scotland.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has praised the professionalism and commitment of officers working for Police Scotland.

Police Scotland’s new Chief Constable started his first day in the role by speaking to the force’s newest recruits.

Iain Livingstone, previously Deputy Chief Constable Designate, took charge of the UK’s second largest police service this week.

He spoke to the recruits about leadership and public service, and also sent a message to all 22,000 officers and staff.

Mr Livingstone said: “Policing has been my life and it is an honour and a privilege to be your Chief Constable and to lead the dedicated men and women of Police Scotland.

“We have come through a challenging period with renewed purpose.

“I’ve always said leadership occurs at every level, and your leadership in the delivery of day-to-day policing has provided stability over the past year.

“My priority for the organisation is to lead the continued delivery of an outstanding police service for our fellow citizens.”

He added that the force has a strong executive team is in place to support him, with a new deputy chief constable, Will Kerr, starting next week. Mr Livingstone has also asked DCC Fiona Taylor to conduct a short review of the command structure before he confirms executive portfolios.

He stressed: “I have said it before, but it is important to keep saying it – policing in Scotland is strong, primarily because of our people.

“I would challenge anyone to find another jurisdiction anywhere in the world which provides a police service like ours.

“We are able to do this because of the fundamental values and principles that underpin everything we do – policing by consent and public service.

“I believe this to be the single most important thing we must all remember as police officers and staff – we are there to serve the public. We are the public and the public are the police.

“We are also able to provide safety and security because of the nature of our single structure, which provides the best of local and the strength of national.

“But we have to adapt. The world is changing rapidly and policing has to change with it so that we can continue to provide the high level of service that our communities need and expect.

“When I started my career, most police work was carried out in public places.

“We then moved into the private space as society realised that the police had a role to play in keeping people safe in their own homes, combating child abuse and domestic violence.

“Now we have to keep people safe in the virtual space as people increasingly live their lives there.

“This need to change doesn’t only affect us – the whole of the public sector is having to respond and I want to engage with colleagues in partner organisations as we go through this process together.

Mr Livingstone acknowledged that not everything was right at the outset of Police Scotland.

The need to maintain an operational grip on policing meant that sometimes the force moved too quickly, and failed to engage with our communities sufficiently.

He said Police Scotland was seen to impose national policies on local areas, with consistency and compliance coming before local diversity.

He added: “That approach has brought benefits.

“For example, we can now say with certainty that every homicide in Scotland is dealt with to the highest possible standard.

“Every domestic abuse case is treated in the same way regardless of where the victim lives.

“But I know that it’s not one size fits all.

“It’s my intention to build a more devolved policing service that better meets the needs of local communities.

“The transformation of policing must be driven by operational requirements.

“Therefore, it’s my job now to lead and drive that change and to build on the values, ethos and traditions of policing in Scotland that first attracted me to the job 26 years ago.”

And concluding his message to his officers and staff, Mr Livingstone said: “It is a great responsibility and opportunity to lead the team that is Police Scotland, to harness your ideas and potential to serve the people of Scotland.

“Thank you for your continued commitment and professionalism.”