Chief inspector Eddie Graham is to leave Shetland take up a new post as area commander in Orkney next week.
He will be replaced by inspector Lindsay Tulloch until a permanent appointment is made.
Mr Graham, 48, has been 29 years in the police and has spent the last four-and-a-half years in Shetland after a previous stint in the isles between 1998 and 2003. It will also be his second spell in service in Orkney where he was a policeman for seven years.
He held the rank of inspector for three-and-a-half-years before being promoted and also worked four years as a sergeant.
Mr Graham took over as Shetland chief inspector from Angus MacInnes in February but decided to take up the Orkney job when it became available and because he has family living in Orkney. It is likely to be his last job in the police force.
Mr Tulloch was previously acting chief inspector when Mr MacInnes moved away.
Mr Graham told <i>The Shetland Times</i> on Monday: “I absolutely love my time in Shetland. I did serve here four years previously and the decision to come back was due to the lifestyle we have in Shetland.
“The community is really supportive of the police in Shetland and that was also part of the decision to come back. That was the main reason for coming back and the fact that I like the island lifestyle.”
He said that the last four-and-a-half years had been challenging from a police perspective, when, tragically, the biggest event was the downing of the Super Puma helicopter last August with the loss of four lives. There had also been a significant recent firearms incident – both coming against the back drop of a “significant transient population” that had to be managed and that was “at times challenging”.
Mr Graham added: “You have to keep it in perspective. While some people will point the finger at the [incoming] workforce you have to remember that the indigenous population do misbehave as well. You cannot single out any one sector in society.”
He said that the biggest challenge in the structural change from Northern Constabulary to the single Police Scotland which covers the whole of the country had been the impact of a number of officers going to the mainland to take up specialist posts. The force had “worked really hard” to increase numbers locally.
“We lost 11 officers and that reduction will by the middle of January have come down to two vacant posts,” said Mr Graham.
• Full story in this week’s Shetland Times, published on Wednesday 31st December.