Police Scotland watchdog chief announces he will retire
Derek Penman, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, will step down next year.
The head of Scotland's policing watchdog has announced he is to retire next year.
Derek Penman, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland, gave notice to Scottish ministers that he intends to retire on March 31, 2018.
Mr Penman has spent 33 years in policing, and was appointed to head up the HM Chief Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICS) on January 31, 2014.
The resignation comes as Police Scotland's chief constable Phil Gormley, who is on a leave of absence from the force, faces three separate inquiries into allegations of gross misconduct.
It also follows Scottish Police Authority (SPA) chairman Andrew Flanagan's announcement in June that he would depart his role due to concerns over transparency and alleged bullying.
Mr Penman said: "I am proud to have led HMICS for almost four years, during which time I have consistently sought to improve policing across Scotland, addressing significant issues and making recommendations for change through the publication of over 30 inspection reports.
"Having re-established HMICS as a key scrutiny body in the new policing landscape, the time is now right for me to move on to new professional challenges.
"I have given the Scottish Government early notice of my intention to allow them sufficient time to recruit and appoint my successor.
"During my remaining time in post, I am keen to focus on supporting the new chair and chief executive of the Scottish Police Authority and the executive team of Police Scotland in addressing current priorities."
HM Inspector of Constabulary in Scotland is the senior professional police adviser to Scottish ministers.
Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: "I am very grateful to Derek for his unstinting service to the public over 33 years in policing, including nearly four years as HM Chief Inspector for Scotland.
"In his Inspectorate role, he has provided significant, independent oversight and challenge to the service and the Scottish Police Authority, at a key time for policing.
"His scrutiny work, including key reviews and reports have resulted in, and continue to underpin, important improvements to how Scotland's unified national police service safeguards the public and keeps communities safe."
The justice secretary added: "As Derek observed in his most recent independent annual report, policing performance in Scotland remains strong, with officers and staff strongly committed to providing a good service for all of Scotland's communities.
"He can be proud of the contribution which the Inspectorate under his leadership has made to the on-going improvements in policing in Scotland.
"I am sure that in his remaining months in post he will continue to make a significant contribution. I wish well for his retirement when it comes."