Northumbria Chief Constable Sue Sim to retire

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Sue Sim.
Northumbria Police Chief Constable Sue Sim.

A North East police chief has announced her retirement.

Northumbria Chief Constable Sue Sim will step down from her role after 30 years’ service in policing.

She said: “After careful consideration I have decided to retire when I reach my 30 years service on June 3.

“My family have made many sacrifices to enable me to have such a fantastic career and it is now time to spend more time with them.

“I am obviously sad to leave but it is the right time and I am confident I have left a legacy of high performance that will continue.”

Ms Sim, who oversaw the massive manhunt for killer Raoul Moat in 2010, joined Merseyside Police in 1985 as a graduate entrant, progressing through the ranks in both uniform and CID roles.

I have been extremely fortunate to have had a marvellous career and I am as committed to serving the public as I was when I first joined Merseyside Police in 1985.

Sue Sim Northumbria Police Chief Constable

She joined the Northumbria force in 2004 as an Assistant Chief Constable and was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable in 2008.

Usually a senior officer can only hold two chief officer posts in one force. However, the Police Authority was so determined to keep Ms Sim that it took the unprecedented step of asking the Home Secretary for special permission to allow her to apply for the position of Chief Constable.

When she was appointed in 2011 she was the first woman to lead a Metropolitan force.

Last month it was announced that an investigation was to be launched following complaints from officers about Ms Sim’s behaviour.

The police chief pledged to co-operate fully with the investigation at the earliest opportunity.

Ms Sim is known for her commitment to neighbourhood policing and the force was named the best in the country for victim satisfaction.

She led the Association of Chief Police Officers’ public order portfolio for a number of years, where she provided strategic advice at a national level, and was honoured with the Queen’s Police Medal in 2009, becoming Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear in 2014.

One of her biggest challenges over the years was the search for Raoul Moat following the murder of Christopher Brown and shooting of PC David Rathband.

She said: “That was one of the most challenging times of my career and the largest manhunt the country has seen for 44 years.

“I spent my time out and about reassuring the public and responding to their questions. Despite their concerns they never waned in their support for us and I am immensely proud of my officers and staff who went about their roles fully aware of the threats against them, but determined to support the public.

“That is British policing at its best, working in partnership with those we serve, and is why I am still so passionate about what we do.”

Since 2010 Ms Sim has had to manage a reduction of 37 per cent from the force’s budget to the end of the Comprehensive Spending Review period, amounting to £117million.

“We have made savings wherever we can, closed outdated buildings and relocated our teams in the heart of our communities, as well as reducing to three Area Commands,” she said.

“I know this has meant some unpopular decisions, but that is what leadership is about and I have never shirked away from those decisions. I have always said we will deliver our service to the public and maintain our high standards. However, I could not have achieved this without the commitment and support of my officers and staff. They have been tremendous and I am extremely grateful to them.”

She said other challenges were the authorisation of Operation Sanctuary — an investigation into allegations of serious sexual offences, a report into the ‘no criming’ of some rape investigations, which led to an operation to reassure the public that they could have confidence in reporting such crime, and the Operation Dragoon road safety programme.

Ms Sim acknowledged the part volunteers play in policing, and thanked colleagues and partner agencies for their support.

“I have been extremely fortunate to have had a marvellous career and I am as committed to serving the public as I was when I first joined Merseyside Police in 1985,” she said.

“I want to give my sincere thanks to everyone who has given me their support throughout this incredible journey, in particular the public and the former Police Authority who trusted me to lead this excellent force and supported me.

“I also want to thank the Police and Crime Commissioner who has worked with me to improve the lives of our communities and victims of crime. I am also extremely grateful to our local authorities, MPs, councillors and the many formal and voluntary partner agencies that I have worked with.

“Most of all I want to thank my officers, staff, special constables and volunteers. They are a credit to Northumbria and I am confident will continue to provide our communities with the very best service they can.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird paid tribute to Ms Sim’s contribution.

“Sue has brought passion and enthusiasm to her role with Northumbria Police, always remaining focused on cutting crime and ensuring victims of crime are at the heart of everything Northumbria Police does,” she said.

“She leaves at a time when Northumbria is one of the highest performing forces in the country and the best force of all for the important matter of victim satisfaction.

“She and I have worked well together over the two-and-a-half years since I became Police and Crime Commissioner. She responded to the challenge of this new governance structure very positively and my experience of her is that she always, without exception, delivers what she has promised.

“She helped me to deliver a strategy to ensure Northumbria Police was recognised as a national leader in tackling violence against women and girls, and she has revolutionised the way police officers engage with communities.

“She has played a key role in the success of this force overall, and she has been supported by the excellent officers and staff in Northumbria Police.

“With her team, she has worked hard to meet the challenge of a reduction of 37 per cent from our budget. She was determined to protect neighbourhood policing in the public interest and she has succeeded.”

She added: “I will miss our joint working and I wish her well in her retirement.”