The head of a police force who has faced criticism for his handling of Black Lives Matter and “kill the bill” protests is retiring.
Andy Marsh, Avon and Somerset Police Chief, said he will not seek to extend his contract when it expires in early July.
The riots that followed protests to kill the bill in Bristol in recent weeks led to claims that policing had been too aggressive.
But the heads of the force were also criticized for failing to intervene to stop the Black Lives Matter protesters who dumped a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol Harbor last summer.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Marsh said it had been the “honor of a lifetime” to lead the force and that it would be a “monkey wrench” to leave the job.
“Leaving a force that I first joined in 1987 has been a difficult decision to make, but I feel like the time is right to embark on a new challenge and for someone else to take the helm and continue on the journey to make Avon and Somerset Police are the outstanding force they deserve to be, ”he said.
“Along with society, the world of police has undergone a sea change since I joined in the late 1980s in terms of culture, attitude and professionalism, and from my role as the NPCC leader for international police, I know that our policing model is still very important. the envy of the world. “
He added: “The Avon and Somerset area has wonderfully rich diversity, strong communities and an enduring sense of public spirit, which will only make it even more difficult to leave my position this summer.”
Marsh joined the Avon and Somerset Police as a new recruit in 1987, rising to the rank of Chief Superintendent, before serving in the Wiltshire and Hampshire Police Forces.
He assumed the position of Avon and Somerset Police Chief in February 2016.
In recent weeks, there have been riots in Bristol over the government’s plans to give the police wide powers to control demonstrations.
A riot broke out on March 21 when some 500 people marched into Bridewell police station, set fire to police vehicles and attacked the station, and protests on March 23 and 26 also ended with clashes between activists and officers.
After the demonstrations, Bristol West Thangam Debbonaire Labor MP said she was speaking to people who said the officers were too forceful.
Marsh also spoke to defend the force’s tactics last summer when officers failed to intervene to prevent Colston’s statue from being damaged.
He said that trying to stop the activists would have resulted in “a very violent confrontation.”
The approach was later endorsed by the police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police and Fire and Rescue Services.
Sue Mountstevens, the independent police and crime commissioner for Avon & Somerset, said Marsh was an “outstanding boss” who had led his team “bravely, during some particularly difficult times for policing, including austerity and pandemic. of Covid-19 “.
She added: “The Chief of Police has always sought to place the highest priority on the well-being and support of his workforce to do their job to the best of their ability, ensuring that Avon and Somerset Police are on the path to becoming an officer. inclusive and outstanding. workforce that serves, protects and respects all their communities ”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism