Brighton and Hove City Council leader Jason Kitcat has paid tribute to the city's top policemand who is to retire after 30 years in the force.

Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett has been head of Brighton and Hove police since January 2009.

He has announced he will retire from Sussex Police on March 31 after the “great privilege” of three decades in the force.

In a statement released yesterday (November 14) he said: “To have served in every rank at Brighton and Hove has been a great honour and over the years I have made many great friends here.

“I truly believe that our city is a very special place with vibrant and diverse people and communities served by truly remarkable and capable people in all sectors.

“I have been humbled to be part of the partnerships which have made Brighton and Hove a safer and healthier place to live, work and visit.

“I leave the service at a time of great change but I know that whatever the future holds our organisation will continue to have public service at its heart.”

Ch Supt Bartlett has overseen a budget of £25 million and more than 600 staff in his role as the city’s top cop.

"Incredible public servant"

Among the more controversial topics during his tenure have been policing of protests, such as those by Smash EDO and March for England, and overseeing the Labour and Liberal Democrat national party conferences.

He also recently featured alongside celebrity comedian Russell Brand in a TV documentary about drug abuse.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Jason Kitcat said: “Graham has been an incredible public servant and really made a huge contribution to the city and brought real change to the way policing is viewed in the city.

“If you look at the approach to policing protests or the way community concerns are dealt with, it’s completely changed. We would have liked to have kept him for as long as we could have.”

In April, The Argus reported how Ch Supt Bartlett was among 53 officers who would leave Sussex Police under Regulation A19 of the Police Pensions Regulations.

However, the threat of forced retirement after 30 years’ service – which was used as part of a £52 million budget-cutting plan – was lifted by Sussex Police Authority in May.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said a process to identify the new divisional commander for Brighton and Hove will start in the New Year.

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