By Christine Lavelle
A FIFE policeman with more than 27 years experience is to be appointed Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland.
The three-year post can be extended by mutual agreement, and as HMIC for Scotland Mr Laing, 47, will be responsible for planning and monitoring the performance of police forces across the country.
He will also be a source of advice to Scottish Ministers, Chief Constables, Police Authorities and the Scottish Police Board.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill made the announcement today and said: “I am delighted to welcome Mr Laing into his new role and have every faith that he will be a first class appointment in leading the Inspectorate into a new era.
“His excellent achievements and experience will be invaluable as the challenge of establishing where police resources are to be focused becomes clearer.
“He is building on strong foundations which have been put in place thanks in large part to work done by Mr Skelly.
“Throughout his time in office, Mr Skelly has shown dedication to playing his part in providing the best possible police service for the people of Scotland.
“I thank him for his contribution and wish him every success in the future.
“The Scottish Government is committed to a strong, well resourced police service and making our communities safer places to live and work.
“The Scottish Government has provided record levels of police funding this financial year, £1.4 billion – a 20 per cent rise since 2006-07.
“There are record numbers of police in Scotland – 1,190 additional police officers in Scotland since this Government came into office, which has helped reduce recorded crime to a 32-year record low.”
Mr Laing was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Fife Constabulary in March 2009, and before that he had been a police officer for 27 years.
He joined Lothian and Borders Police in 1982 before transferred to Fife Constabulary in 2004, following an extended temporary post at Northumbria Police during 2003 and 2004.
He was responsible for the reformation of the Scottish Fingerprint Service in 2003 and the development of the multi-agency approach to the management of sex offenders.
Chief Constable Patrick Shearer, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos), said: “Acpos welcomes the appointment of Andrew Laing to the post of HMICS.
“I look forward to working with him in the coming months.
“We face an unprecedented period of challenge and change and it is important that all partners work closely together.
“I would like to pay tribute to Bill Skelly for his work over the past year in the challenging role of HMICS and wish him well for the future.”