POLICE CHIEF RETIRES TO TAKE UP NEW CHALLENGE

Date: Saturday 7th July 2001

THE Chief Constable of Cumbria, Colin Phillips, will retire from the force in October.

Mr. Phillips is leaving to pursue a business opportunity in the North East, but says he is not yet in a position to reveal what this is, as the workforce has not yet been informed.

However, the well-known football supporter, who became one of Cumbria’s youngest ever chief constables at the age of 45, was able to say that his new career had nothing to do with a football club.

He said: “I have been a police officer for 31 years, all my working life, and feel that now is the time to change direction. There is an opportunity available to me which will give me the chance to make changes to both my working and personal life.

“This will necessitate me leaving the police service and Cumbria. It will take me back to family and friends across the North East.

“It’s too good an opportunity to miss. It’s time to move on. I’ve come to the conclusion that at my age I’m far too old to do a lot of things and I’m far too young to retire.”

Mr. Phillips said he was now looking forward to being a private individual again, but added: “I never look back so I’ll not miss anything.”

However, he said he was proud of the achievements of the force since he came to Cumbria. He said: “I don’t take credit for what’s happened. The thing I am most pleased about is that we’ve done all we have against a background of some large budget cuts.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chief constable of this fine force. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to improve our operational performance, while implementing major change and coping with successive poor budget settlements.

“I wish to thank all my staff who have contributed to this success and place on record my appreciation to the police authority for first of all taking a chance on appointing me and particularly for supporting me during my time here.”

Mr. Phillips has been chief constable for Cumbria since 1997 when he took over from Alan Elliott on his retirement. Before this Mr. Phillips had been assistant chief constable in Greater Manchester, where he oversaw the inquiry into the Manchester bombing.

Educated at Gosforth Grammar School, Newcastle, Mr. Phillips joined the police force straight from school, starting out on the beat in his native North East. He was quickly promoted and soon became superintendent for Berwick, which he said gave him experience of rural policing which he could use in Cumbria.

In the early 90s he served in Newcastle’s West End, dealing with the 1991 riots, before moving on to Cheshire, where he became chief superintendent.

NATIONAL PROFILE

Since coming to Cumbria, he has raised the county’s national profile, chairing the Association of Chief Police Officers’ drugs sub-committee.

The chairman of the police authority, county councillor Reg Watson, said: “The retirement of Colin Phillips will be a great loss to policing. His impact was not only felt in Cumbria, but also on the national scene. He came promising excellence and he has gone a long way to delivering that.

“As the results of the force since 1997 have shown, we are among the very best forces in the country.”