The three men in the running to be the new chief constable of Police Scotland have been put through their final interviews.
Deputy chief constable Neil Richardson, deputy chief constable for crime and operational support Iain Livingstone and the retiring deputy director general at the National Crime Agency, Phil Gormley, all made the final shortlist.
It is understood a formal announcement will be made next week about who will succeed Sir Stephen House in the top job in Scottish policing.
Scottish Police Authority (SPA) chairman Andrew Flanagan headed up the selection panel, with a member of SOLACE and the Scottish Government’s director-general for learning and justice, Paul Johnston, also sitting in.
Six applicants put their names forward to replace Sir Stephen, although it is understood no women applied for the £212,280 a year post.
Following a raft of controversies since the single service was formed in April 2013, Sir Stephen announced his intention to quit in August.
The force has been slammed for its stop and search policy, the increased visibility of armed officers, and been put under intense scrutiny about how control rooms function in the wake of the tragic deaths of Lamara Bell and John Yuill after they lay in their crashed car for three days by the side of the M9.
An investigation is also continuing into the death in custody of Fife man Sheku Bayoh and a savings target of £1.1 billion has been demanded by the Scottish Government.
An SPA spokesman said: “We have set out details of the process by which candidates will be assessed, and the chairman has been clear that he expects to make an announcement before Christmas and no comment will be made on this confidential process before then.”