POLICE Scotland has appointed its first-ever female Chief Constable with Jo Farrell taking on the role.

She will succeed Iain Livingstone, who is stepping down this August after six years in the job.

In a statement, she said: “This really is a day of mixed emotions.

“I am immensely proud to have served as chief constable of Durham and equally proud of everything the force has achieved over that time.

“Over the last six years, I have worked with some extraordinarily talented and committed people, dedicated to keeping County Durham and Darlington safe, and it has been a very difficult decision to leave.

“But as chief constable of Police Scotland I have been offered a unique opportunity to take on one of the most challenging jobs in UK policing.”

Justice Secretary Angela Constance welcomed Farrell’s appointment.

Constance said: “I am delighted that Jo Farrell has been appointed as Police Scotland’s new chief constable following the Scottish Police Authority’s rigorous selection process.

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“Jo is the first woman to be appointed to this role. As the force marks its 10th anniversary next year, she has shown she has the skills needed to lead the service into the next decade and meet the challenges ahead.

“Thanks to the dedication and work of the police, recorded crime rates overall are at record low levels and we have a service that is unique in the UK with an embedded human rights focus.

“Policing will continue to be an absolute priority for this government, as evidenced by the £1.45 billion we have allocated to support it in 2023-24. I look forward to working with the new chief constable as the service continues to build on its significant strengths.

“I also want to pay tribute to Sir Iain for his bold leadership and wider service to keeping communities safe during a lengthy, distinguished career in policing.

“He leaves Police Scotland in great shape after leading it through unprecedented times.”

Farrell is currently in charge of Durham Constabulary.