POLICE Scotland’s embattled Chief Constable Phil Gormley has resigned, saying the misconduct investigation into his time in office had taken a “significant toll” on his family.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) is currently investigating four complaints against the chief, while another three are being assessed internally.

He had been on special leave since last September.

In a statement, issued through the Scottish Police Authority, Gormley admitted that it would be difficult for him to return to the job given the fallout from the investigation into the complaints.

That was possibly a reference to one of the most astonishing events of the last eight months when Gormley’s wife wrote an article for a newspaper suggesting the complaints about her husband being a bully were because he was English and because the rest of the force’s senior officers weren’t very good at their jobs.

In his statement, the outgoing Chief wrote: “The last eight months have been difficult for me and my family, in particular I would like to thank my wife for her love and loyalty.

“The events since November 2017 have led me to the conclusion that it is impossible for me to resume my duties in a meaningful way prior to the end of my contract.

“I now need to prioritise the health and wellbeing of my family on whom these events have taken a significant toll.

“The support of colleagues from across the UK with whom I have served during the last 32 years has been a source of great strength.”

Under his terms, Gormley will get three months’ salary of around £53,500, plus any unpaid annual leave.

Susan Deacon, chair of the Scottish Police Authority, said she hoped this would draw a line under the saga.

“Chief Constable Gormley has made a significant contribution to policing in Scotland. The delivery of the 10-year strategy Policing 2026: Serving a Changing Scotland provides a strong basis for Police Scotland to move forward.”

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said said he would “respect” the decision, and hoped that it would allow “policing in Scotland to move forward”.

Gormley’s lawyer had previously Matheson, of acting unlawfully by intervening in the SPA’s decision to allow the chief constable to return to work in November.

Matheson added: “While the management of the police service has been the subject of close scrutiny in recent months I would like to pay tribute to all those officers who have continued to serve the people of Scotland every day, helping to keep crime at historically low levels and making our communities safer.”

However, there were calls from opposition politicians that Matheson should now resign.

Tory boss Ruth Davidson tweeted: “The Justice Minister intervenes in the SPA’s decision to reinstate the chief constable. The Chair of the SPA goes. The Chief Constable goes. The Justice Minister clings on.”

LibDem leader Willie Rennie said Gormley’s resignation “should not lead people to believe all the problems in Police Scotland are solved.”

“The rate at which Chief Constables and SPA bosses have come and gone points to a much deeper issue. Problems are hardwired into the structures they are operating within,” he said.

Green MSP John Finnie, who is the convenor of Holyrood Justice sub committee on policing, said he was pleased Gormley had stood down. “I believe that this decision is in the best interest of Police Scotland, the Scottish Public and Gormley himself.”

He added: “The circumstances around Gormley’s resignation clearly demonstrate the need for review of how complaints against officers are handled by the Scottish Police Authority”.

Four other senior officers have also been suspended recently.