Thames Valley Police chief announces he is to retire in March 2019

Francis Habgood, who is retiring as Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police in March 2019
Francis Habgood, who is retiring as Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police in March 2019

The chief constable of Thames Valley Police Francis Habgood has announced he is to retire next year after four years in the role.

Chief Constable Habgood announced today (Tuesday) he will retire at the end of his term as Chief Constable - after four years in the post, 15 years within the Thames Valley force and more than 32 years in the police service.

In a statement Chief Constable Habgood said: “Next year I will have completed over 32 years’ service in policing, 15 years of those as a chief officer in Thames Valley Police.

“At the end of March 2019 my term as Chief Constable concludes and I have decided that it is the right time for both me and the force that I retire.”

Chief Constable Habgood joined Thames Valley in January 2004 as Assistant Chief Constable, where he covered all portfolios, including crime, operations and local policing.

During this time he also spent three months helping to train future chief officers as a syndicate director on the Strategic Command Course.

In October 2008 he was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable before landing the top job as Chief Constable in April 2015.

Before his work at Thames Valley, Chief Constable Habgood worked as part of West Yorkshire Police in 1987, where he worked in a variety of operational roles.

Chief Constable Habgood is a member of the NPCC Workforce Co-ordination Committee and leads on pay and conditions.

He chairs the Protect and Prepare Board and is a member of the Counter Terrorism Coordination Committee and also chairs the police committee that oversees the introduction of the Emergency Services Mobile Communication Programme.

He sits on the advisory board for the Oxford University Centre for Criminology and is a visiting fellow of Oxford University’s Lady Margaret Hall.

In 2012, Chief Constable Habgood was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal, an honour given to police officers in the UK for gallantry or distinguished service.

He said: “I will always love policing and it’s been an honour to serve the public, most recently as Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police.

“Thames Valley Police is an excellent force and I am privileged to lead the dedicated officers, staff and volunteers who work for us.

“In the coming months I remain fully committed to meeting the challenges we face and will continue to work tirelessly to make our communities safer.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police Anthony Stansfeld said: “It is with considerable regret that I have received notice from the Chief Constable, Francis Habgood, that he will be leaving Thames Valley Police when his contract ends on the 31st March 2019.

“He has been an outstanding Chief Constable and throughout the last four years we have had an excellent relationship and I will be very sorry to lose him.

“During this period Thames Valley Police has been rated by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) as one of the highest ranked police forces in the country and this is greatly down to his leadership.

“The Chief Constable will continue to lead Thames Valley Police over the next five months as we now enter a period of recruitment for his successor.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld says he plans to advertise the role in early November and the intention is that the process for selecting a preferred candidate will be completed before Christmas.

The preferred candidate will then appear before a Police and Crime Panel Confirmation Hearing, early in the New Year.