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Profile: Police Service of Scotland Chief Constable Stephen House
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Chief Constable of the new Police Service of Scotland Stephen House was born in Glasgow in 1957 and lived in the city until his family moved south 11 years later.
He studied at Aberdeen University before joining Sussex Police in 1981.
The 55-year-old worked as a constable in Brighton for most of his early service and policed the Brighton Grand Hotel bombing and the miners’ strike.
In 1988, he transferred transfer to Northamptonshire Police and was promoted to sergeant. Having progressed to the rank of chief inspector he moved to West Yorkshire Police in 1994 where he worked as a superintendent in the performance unit before being promoted to divisional commander in Central Bradford.
Mr House was appointed assistant chief constable in Staffordshire in 1998. He joined the Metropolitan Police Service in December 2001 as deputy assistant commissioner, where he worked in Policy Reviews and Standards.
In early 2003 he moved to Territorial Policing and was appointed assistant commissioner of Central Operations in January 2005 and went on to set up the new business group from scratch.
In 2006, Mr House moved to oversee the Specialist Crime Directorate with responsibility for a diverse command including homocide, child abuse, economic crime, flying squad, kidnap and hostage negotiations, covert policing, asset recovery, gun crime, forensics and the disruption of criminal networks.
He was appointed Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police in 2007.
During his time in Scotland Mr House introduced a new model of Community Policing, with impressive results. In 2007 there were 527 Community Officers working beats in the towns, cities and villages of Strathclyde. There are now well over 2500 such officers.
Mr House has led several national debates – most notably his calling for the creation of a single, national Police Service for Scotland and on the link between alcohol and violence in Scotland.
He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2005. He is married with three children.
It was announced on September 25 that Mr House would take up the post of the first Chief Constable of the new Police Service of Scotland in 2013.
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Stephen House was born in Glasgow in 1957 and grew up in Castlemilk, before moves to Bishopbriggs and Inchinnan in the metropolitan area of Glasgow. His father, William, worked for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, finishing his career as a senior manager. His mother, Alice, worked in a laboratory until becoming a full-time parent to her children. He has a younger brother, Jonathan, who was also a senior police officer, as Police Commander for Sheffield, and a trained hostage negotiator, before becoming a senior officer in local government in Bristol and Cardiff and currently, a Director with PwC.
House was initially educated at the independent Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow but, when he was 11, his family moved to London, where he continued to be privately educated, in Hampstead. He has acknowledged that his Glasgow accent led to his being singled out and that this probably led to his adoption of an Estuary English voice, although he claims to feel himself Scottish and, particularly, Glaswegian. House returned to Scotland in 1976, to study History and English Literature at the University of Aberdeen.
House has been married since 1987, with three children, two girls and one boy, and lives in Helensburgh on the Firth of Clyde, some 20 miles west of Glasgow. He has acknowledged that he has few interests outside of his family and his job, although he enjoys hill walking and reading science fiction. He is also a keen motorcyclist and was known to turn up unannounced at police stations on a motorcycle when he was Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police.
Early Police Career
House cites good experiences of the police in Aberdeen during his time as a student there, while also noting that he wanted a role in a disciplined, hierarchical environment.
He joined Sussex Police in 1981, transferring in 1988 to Northamptonshire Police, where he was promoted to Sergeant. He remained a uniformed officer until 1992 and progressed to Chief Inspector before moving in 1994 to West Yorkshire Police where he worked as a Superintendent in the Performance Unit. He was promoted to Divisional Commander in Central Bradford prior to being appointed Assistant Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police in 1998.