Durham police chief Jon Stoddart to leave the force after 30 years

A NORTH East chief constable will today announce he is stepping down from his role before new police commissioners come into power.

Durham Police Chief Constable Jon Stoddart
Durham Police Chief Constable Jon Stoddart

A NORTH East chief constable will today announce he is stepping down from his role before new police commissioners come into power.

Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart, 52, has indicated to the police authority that he will leave the force in October after 30 years as a police officer.

Mr Stoddart will leave a month before a new police commissioner is voted into office who will have the power to hire and fire a chief constable, and who will replace the police authority.

He has held the post since December 2005, after previously serving as Deputy from February 2003.

He 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.”

Mr Stoddart graduated from Northumbria University before joining his local force in 1982 and was singled out for accelerated promotion.

During more than 16 years with Northumbria, he worked both in uniform and CID and was a detective sergeant in Newcastle, a detective chief inspector in Sunderland and, as head of the force’s Major Crime Team following his promotion to detective superintendent, was in charge of eight murder investigations on Tyneside and Wearside.

He also led the inquiry into the brick attack which left a Sunderland police officer critically injured. As a result six men were jailed for a total of 44 years.

He moved to Lincolnshire as assistant chief constable before joining the Durham force.

Most recently at national level, Mr Stoddart 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.

Mr Stoddart was awarded the OBE in the 2012 New Year’s Honours.

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.

Chair of Durham Police Authority Peter Thompson said: “We’ve enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Chief Constable, although there have been robust challenges at times, as that is the role and function of the Police Authority.

“As Jon Stoddart still has some months to serve as chief constable, I will pay full tribute to him at the appropriate time. In the meantime, I’m delighted that we have two such capable officers to step in when the Chief Constable retires later this year.”

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