DURHAM Constabulary’s Chief Constable Mike Barton has taken the plunge and leapt out of a plane as he prepares to step down from his post.

Mr Barton took part in a tandem skydive with the Red Devils at the Old Sarum Airfield, near Salisbury, last week to raise money for the Police Treatment Centres.

He has raised more than £2,630 for the charity, which looks after thousands of injured and ill police officers every year.

Mr Barton said: “Wow. It was like being fired out of a gun for the first 50 seconds followed by floating on the breeze like a leaf. It was an utterly bizarre contrast and an utterly unforgettable three minutes.

“Can I thank everybody for their generosity – it has been a long time coming because the weather gods have prevented me from doing it for about two years now.

“At least I have survived it unscathed. I suppose it would have been ironic if I had broken an ankle and then had to go to the Police Treatment Centre to spend some of the money I had raised.”

After 39 years in uniform and several years running Britain’s best performing police force, Mr Barton will be stepping down on June 7. In 2014, he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.