Police chief refuses to reapply

News Shopper: Colin Port has spent eight years with Avon and Somerset Constabulary Colin Port has spent eight years with Avon and Somerset Constabulary

A long-serving chief constable has resigned after apparently being told by his new boss that he would have to apply for his own job.

Colin Port will leave Avon and Somerset Constabulary in January after eight full years with the force. His decision comes after a meeting with newly elected police and crime commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens on Wednesday.

In a statement released through police on Thursday, 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."

He added: "I can confirm that I will be retiring from the police service on January 26 2013 at the end of my fixed-term appointment. In effect, I will be leaving considerably sooner."

Across the country, newly elected PCCs will have the power to appoint and dismiss chief constables, although the chief constable will appoint all other officers within the force.

That task is now likely to be among the main priorities for Ms Mountstevens, a 57-year-old former magistrate who stood as an independent candidate in last week's elections.

In a statement on Thursday - on her first official day in the post - she said Mr Port had "made great improvements for this area". She said: "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."

Mr Port put efforts to drive down crime and cut anti-social behaviour at the heart of his work during his time with the force. He left his position as deputy chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary to become Avon and Somerset's sixth chief constable, succeeding Steve Pilkington, who retired.

His policing career started with Greater Manchester Police in 1974. He also worked for Warwickshire Constabulary and is a former head of the South East Regional Crime Squad.

Following Mr Port's statement, Ms Mountstevens said: "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 (Mr Port's) 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."

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