Top policeman Colin Port to step down in New Year
Avon and Somerset Chief Constable Colin Port will step down in the new year.
Mr Port, who has been in charge of the force since 2005, had been weighing up his options for some time on whether to renew his contract in January.
But less than a week after the election of the region’s first ever Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, Mr Port has made the decision to go.
“I will be leaving the force,”
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Mr Port said. “I will not be renewing my contract in January. I am going to miss the force greatly. There are some great people in this organisation doing fantastic work and I am very proud to have served as chief constable of Avon and Somerset police for the past eight years.”
As commissioner, Ms Mountstevens has the power to remove or appoint a chief constable, unless vetoed by the new regional Police and Crime Panel (PCP) on a two-thirds vote.
Mr Port said: "Yesterday I had a meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioner.
"She told me she intends to start the process to recruit a Chief Constable to take Avon and Somerset forward. I told her I had no intention of applying for my job.
"I can confirm that I will be retiring from the police service on 26 January 2013 at the end of my fixed term appointment. In effect, I will be leaving considerably sooner.
"I am terrifically proud to have led Avon and Somerset Constabulary, whose men and women have delivered so much in partnership with the Police Authority.
"I am sad to leave and stunned by the many messages of support I have received overnight from police officers and staff, ACPO colleagues, partners and friends of Avon and Somerset Constabulary. To all of them, I say thank you."
Ms Mountstevens said: “Colin Port has made great improvements for this area. He has increased detection rates and reduced crime. He will be greatly missed by staff and partners. I know that he will continue to do great things and I wish him every success for the future.
“Everyone is aware that the Chief Constable’s contract expires on January 26, because of that I would like to run a competitive process to appoint a Chief Constable for my whole term of office.
"It was his choice not to apply but I know that he will continue to do great things and I wish him the very best for the future.”
Deputy Chief Constable Rob Beckley will become temporary top man at the force.
Mr Port, 57, will now take stock before deciding whether he will retire permanently or look for a new challenge inside or outside policing.
Looking back on his career, he said: “I have a had a really great time in the police force and have loved every minute of it.”
He joined Avon and Somerset Constabulary as its sixth chief constable in January 2005, moving from Norfolk Constabulary.
He started his career with Greater Manchester Police in 1974 and continued his service with Warwickshire Police.
In 1994, Mr Port worked for the United Nations as investigations co-ordinator with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
He was also the director of investigations for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and former head of the South East Regional Crime Squad.
Mr Port became deputy chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary before being seconded to Northern Ireland between 1999 and 2002 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson.