ONE of the region's top police officers is stepping down after almost 32 years of distinguished service.

North Yorkshire's award-winning Chief Constable Dave Jones is retiring from policing - and paid tribute to his colleagues for making the county one of the safest in England.

He was appointed to the role in 2013 – and although officers customarily retire at 30 years of service, he accepted an extension to his tenure in 2016 to provide continuity of leadership at a time of other retirements in the chief officer team.

Before joining the North Yorkshire force he had previously served at Greater Manchester Police where he held a series of senior positions.

In 2008 he was promoted to Assistant Chief Constable in the Police Service Northern Ireland, where he was named NI Chartered Manager of the Year.

In 2016 he also took temporary charge of South Yorkshire Police during a turbulent phase for that force, to provide stable leadership while a new chief was recruited there and in 2017 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service.

“I have always believed that neighbourhood policing is the bedrock of the police service, and that community approach is absolutely embedded at North Yorkshire Police," he said.

"The force is also firmly on the road to a modernised service, with developments in mobile technology now rolling-out across the frontline, and more still to come.

“However policing does not stand still, and North Yorkshire Policing is about to start the next phase in its transformation. This seemed the right time for me to hand over the baton to a new leader who can take the service on this new stage of the journey."

Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: "His personal leadership and commitment to North Yorkshire Police – and the wider police service – has been exceptional, and he has done a great job in very challenging times."

His deputy Lisa Winward will take command until a successor is recruited.