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First Scots Police Authority Chair Announced

Vic Emery poised to face tough challenges as the single police service prepares to go live

The convener of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency has been selected as the first chairman of the new Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

Vic Emery has been chosen by the Scottish government to lead and shape the SPA – while holding the new Police Service of Scotland and its chief constable to account.

He will also work with the chief constable and Scottish government to ensure a “smooth transition” to the new, single police service in April 2013.

It is being reported that Mr Emery’s appointment has increased the chances of Strathclyde Police’s current Chief Constable Stephen House, landing the country-wide chief’s job.

The Labour Party said Mr Emery had the necessary experience for the job but would be seen as an “insider” – as he is also the convener of the current Scottish Police Services Authority.

Both of his convener jobs will disappear automatically when April 2013 arrives as the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency and the Scottish Police Services Authority will merge into the new service.

Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill said Mr Emery’s expertise justified the appointment.

He said: “As well as excellent knowledge of policing in Scotland through his current role, he also has significant experience of leading large, complex organisations.”

Public sector union Unison congratulated Mr Emery on the part-time role with a salary of £450 per day. But officials said he faces “near impossible challenges” with plans to cut back staffing in the new national force.

Chair of Unison’s Police Staff Committee George McIrvine, said:“We wish Mr Emery well in his new role but he will have to grapple with the reality that hundreds of officers are already being taken off the streets to backfill police staff jobs – jobs they aren’t trained to do and at a greater cost than the staff they replace.

“We need a balanced workforce where the skills of police staff enable police officers to do the job the public wants them to do, where they want them to do it – that is fighting crime, out on the streets.”

Mr Emery’s contract will run for three years from September 2012. He is currently considering what to do with business interests he holds.

He has been the Managing Director of BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions, which managed the warship building business on the Clyde and the warship support and sustainment business in Portsmouth. He also sat on the operational Board of BAE Systems Plc from 2003 until 2008 and was awarded an OBE in May 2008 for services to shipbuilding.

He said: “I believe in policing and in the contribution it makes to the safety, security and economy of our country. As a businessman, I also believe structures and organisations should be simple, straightforward and accountable – for customers and for those working in them. That’s why a single, united Scottish police service has always made sense to me.

“The more efficient we make the organisation of policing, the more police officers and staff can do for us as citizens.”

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