Another chief constable announces retirement

The chief constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Andy Marsh, has confirmed he will not be seeking to extend his contract when it expires at the start of July 2021.

Apr 7, 2021
By Tony Thompson
CC Andy Marsh

His announcement means that nearly one third of the 43 police forces in England and Wales are seeking a new chief constable or have one who has been in post for less than a year.

Since the start of this year, the chief constables of Warwickshire Police, West Mercia Police, Staffordshire Police and Norfolk Constabulary have all said they will be stepping down.

In recent weeks, Mr Marsh has been criticised for his handling of the Kill the Bill protests in Bristol and last summer Home Secretary Priti Patel was said to have had “firm” words with him after his officers failed to intervene to stop Black Lives Matter protesters throwing a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol Harbour.

Mr Marsh said it had been the “honour of a lifetime” to lead a force he first joined as a new recruit in 1987.

After starting at Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Mr Marsh took on both operational and detective roles up to the role of chief superintendent and BCU commander, first for South Bristol and then Somerset East. He went on to serve as assistant chief constable at Wiltshire Police and then Avon and Somerset Constabulary, before being appointed deputy chief constable and then chief constable at Hampshire Constabulary, before taking on the chief constable role at Avon and Somerset Constabulary in February 2016.

He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2018, the same year he was recognised by Women of the Future in its list of 50 ‘Kind Leaders’.

Mr Marsh said: “To leave a force I first joined in 1987 has been a difficult decision to make, but I feel it is the right time for me to embark on a new challenge and for another person to take the helm and continue on the journey to make Avon and Somerset Police the outstanding force it deserves to be.

“It’s been the honour of a lifetime to lead a force filled with officers, staff and volunteers who live and breathe our values of being a caring, courageous, inclusive and a learning-led organisation. I’m very proud of their achievements and the work they do every day to serve and protect the public.

“Along with society, the world of policing has undergone a seismic shift since I joined in the late 1980s in terms of culture, attitude and professionalism, and from my role as National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for international policing, I know our model of policing remains very much the envy of the world.

“One of my enduring passions in my policing career has been my national role in advancing and promoting the use of body-worn video (BWV). I truly believe the advancement of BVW affords the police greater legitimacy and accountability in the eyes of the public. But it’s not only this; BWV can show people the complexity and ambiguity of challenges and dangers officers and staff face on a daily basis and highlight the risks they take with their safety, to keep the public safe.

“On reflection, I’ll take great pride in the trailblazing advances the force has made in equipping our officers and staff with the best technology in the world, helping us to become more agile and data driven in investigating and disrupting crime, safeguarding and protecting victims and identifying those who pose the greatest risk of harm.

“We need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to embracing new technology and we’re already a leading force developing robotics and automation. Policing will of course always be about people, and our vision, leadership and operationalisation of the opportunities offered by digital, technology and data will keep this force at the leading edge.

“Avon and Somerset Police has been at the forefront of these developments and I am proud of what we have achieved during my time as chief. The Avon and Somerset area has wonderfully rich diversity, strong communities and an enduring sense of public spirit, which will only make it an even harder wrench to leave my role this summer.”


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