THIS newspaper has charted the long-running problems faced by Police Scotland, but we always believed the single force would raise its game and move on.

However, 2017 has been another annus horribilis for policing and bad news keeps preventing the force turning the corner.

Not only is chief constable Phil Gormley on special leave while bullying allegations are investigated, but assistant chief constable Bernie Higgins has been suspended on a separate matter. It has also been a poor year for the Scottish Police Authority. Its chair, Andrew Flanagan, resigned after allegations of bullying and a damaging row over secrecy. The SPA managing director, John Foley, also moved on after a troubled stint.

Today’s revelations are further evidence that a fundamental reform of policing is overdue.

When Flanagan announced his decision to quit, nobody believe it would take the Government five months to find a successor. Flanagan was instead allowed to stay in post and his delayed departure cost the taxpayer nearly £18,000.

Further, one of the new assistant chief constables, Alan Speirs, promoted with a massive pay rise, was in charge of police control rooms at the time of the M9 tragedy. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing but C3 was hardly an example of positive policing reform.

Temporary promotions are highly lucrative and it must gall ordinary officers to see superiors getting big pay rises.

With fresh leadership on the way for Police Scotland and the SPA, it can only be hoped that 2018 proves to be a better year.