Police chief to retire

THE head of Durham Police has announced his impending retirement.

Durham Constabulary’s Chief Constable Jon Stoddart is leaving the force in October.

The 52-year-old, who was awarded the OBE in the 2012 New Year’s Honours List, said: “I’m proud to have served the people of County Durham and Darlington for the last nine years, and proud of our performance in continuing to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

“There have been considerable changes in policing over the last 30 years, most recently in Durham Constabulary when we implemented a full re-structure at the same time as we had to work through a difficult redundancy programme.

“I’m leaving at a time of even greater change, as we move from Police Authority to elected Police and Crime Commissioner.

“By announcing my intention to retire at this early stage, I wanted to assist in the transition to the new arrangements, while maintaining our service to our communities.

“It has been a wonderful privilege to work for the communities here in County Durham and Darlington.”

Durham Police Authority has agreed that Deputy Chief Constable Mike Barton will serve as Temporary Chief Constable for an initial period of three months from October, and Assistant Chief Constable Michael Banks will be Temporary Deputy Chief Constable for the same period.

Among Mr Stoddart’s recent achievements, he has led the independent review of Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police investigation into the illegal interception of telephones by the media and other suspected criminal activity.

In March this year he gave evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into the culture and ethics of the media.