Wiltshire's acting Chief Constable Patrick Geenty will have to apply for the post if he wants the job permanently after new Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said he will advertise the job.
An advertisement for the role will be published in the Police Professional magazine on Thursday 29 November. There will also be adverts from Wednesday, 28 November on the Police Professional, Wiltshire Police and PCC websites.
Mr Macpherson said: “Patrick Geenty has been our temporary Chief Constable since March 2012, when his predecessor was seconded to the Border Agency.
“I want to move quickly to secure a substantive appointment to the position of Chief Constable. There are a considerable number of vacancies nationally, and I want Wiltshire and Swindon to have the largest possible pool of candidates. We have therefore advertised early, and will be one of the first to recruit.”
Mr Macpherson is refusing to answer any more questions about the decision.
Mr Geenty's contract as temporary chief ends in March.
A police source said: "This doesn't necessarily mean that Pat Geenty isn't wanted as a chief contsbale in Wiltshire, it could just be that this is part of a due process to ensure the proper procedure in appointing a full time chief is followed.
Mr Geenty, who lives in Gastard near Corsham, made no secret of his desire to take on the role full-time in the run-up to the PCC elections.
"I'm enjoying the job and, if I'm wanted, I'd like to continue in it," he said.
Mr Geenty, who is married with two grown-up children, said he would apply to become chief constable permanently once his temporary contract ends.
He said: “I’d like to lead the force through the next couple of years, as they will bring the most significant change in my service and I would like to shape some of that.”
Mr Geenty joined the police service in 1983 and served in Gloucestershire and Humberside before joining Wiltshire Police as assistant chief constable in April 2009. He was appointed temporary deputy chief constable after the death of David Ainsworth, the previous deputy chief constable, in March 2011.
He became temporary chief last March when Brian Moore began a short-lived stint with the UK Border Force.
As part of the process, Mr Macpherson will chair a recruitment panel, which will comprise leaders of both Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council and an experienced member of the voluntary sector.
He added: “It will be a rigorous process. The important dates are closing date for applications, 19 December, 2012, and 7 January, 2013, when we will interview.”