Police Scotland’s Chief Constable Phil Gormley is the subject of an investigation by the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) following an allegation regarding his conduct.

The investigation followed a referral by the Scottish Police

Mr Gormley said he was cooperating fully with the PIRC investigation.

In a statement, he said: “I can confirm that today I was informed by the PIRC that I am the subject of a conduct investigation.

“I am cooperating fully with the PIRC and will provide all necessary assistance to bring this matter to a timely and satisfactory conclusion. In fairness to others who may be involved, it is not appropriate for me to comment further at this time.

“I would like to stress that I remain focused on leading Police Scotland, ensuring that we continue to serve and protect the people of this country.

The Scottish government said  that it would be inappropriate to comment further at the present time however the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie said: This is an incredibly serious announcement. Phil Gormley was brought into Police Scotland to steady the ship and is now the subject of a conduct investigation.

“This announcement will have serious implications which will need to be considered over the next few days. I will make a further statement in due course.”

Mr Gormley was appointed to lead Police Scotland on 2 December 2015 having previously served as the deputy director general of the National Crime Agency.

An SPA spokesman said: “If an allegation relating to the conduct of a senior officer of ACC rank or above is made, the SPA has the responsibility for receiving and assessing that allegation in line with The Police Service of Scotland (Senior Officers) (Conduct) Regulations 2013.

“If the SPA decides that a misconduct allegation is to be investigated, it must refer the allegation to the independent Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).

“The SPA can confirm an allegation against the chief constable has been referred to PIRC for their investigation. However, consideration of complaints and conduct issues are confidential while being progressed, and the SPA has a policy of not commenting on individual cases.”