POLICE Scotland’s second- in-command is postponing his retirement plans while accusations of gross misconduct against Chief Constable Phil Gormley are investigated.

Deputy Chief Constable Designate Iain Livingstone, the most senior of Police Scotland’s three deputy chief constables, says he considers it his duty to remain in post.

He recently announced he intended to retire this autumn but now says he will stay “for the foreseeable future”. He will lead Police Scotland until further notice.

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Gormley has been given “special leave” while the two allegations are probed.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) confirmed last week it was investigating a new allegation of gross misconduct by Gormley.

Two accusations have been levelled against him, one by a senior officer at Police Scotland, understood to be Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, a member of the force executive or senior management team.

Gormley denies the allegations which, if proven, could lead to him being sacked.

Livingstone has written to Justice Secretary Michael Matheson and the chair of Scottish Police Authority (SPA) to confirm he will remain as acting leader of the force.

“Having discussed the matter at length with my wife, family and others, I intend to continue in post for the foreseeable future,” he said.

“Given the uncertainty and challenges currently facing Police Scotland, I consider it my duty to remain in service. My focus now will be on ensuring that we continue to deliver day-to-day policing services to the people of Scotland and on providing the leadership and assurance that is needed at this time.

“We have a strong and resilient command team in place and we have thousands of dedicated and hard-working police officers and staff who remain committed to providing an excellent service to the people of Scotland.”

Both complaints against Gormley were referred to Pirc following a preliminary assessment by the SPA, Police Scotland’s oversight body. Asked if she had concerns about leadership at Police Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The chief constable has decided – and I think given the allegations that have been made, he has been right to decide – that it’s better he is not in post while that investigation is under way.

“I wouldn’t have chosen to have a situation where the chief constable felt he had to stand down while an investigation is carried out, of course.

“But there is leadership at Police Scotland in the form of the acting chief constable and we will make sure that that continues.”