PCC Olly Martins: Colette Paul departure had nothing to do with referendum result

Colette Paul
Colette Paul

Colette Paul’s shock decision to stand down as Beds Police chief constable to had nothing to do with the result of the council tax referendum, according to PCC Olly Martins.

Ms Paul told colleagues on Monday night that she is to take early retirement, stating her intent to travel and spend more time with family.

PCC Olly Martins has repeatedly appealed for more funding

PCC Olly Martins has repeatedly appealed for more funding

The decision comes just three weeks after taxpayers resoundingly voted ‘no’ in a referendum to hike the police precept by 15.8%

However speaking to us this afternoon, Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner Olly Martins said that the referendum result had no bearing on the chief constable’s decision which he said had been made “earlier in the year”.

He added: “It was clear her mind was made up well before the referendum.

“Her decision is about what’s right for her after 33 years of dedicated public service in policing.

“Chief constable Paul has provided very effective leadership during her tenure but although I’m sorry to see her retire I entirely respect her reasons for choosing to do so.”

On her successor Mr Martins said the force needs someone “who shares our vision for policing in Bedfordshire and how we keep the county safe even in the most challenging circumstances.”

Ms Paul has not yet left the force and her leaving date is unknown.

Deputy chief constable Jon Boutcher will take charge of the force temporarily when Ms Paul departs.

The chief constable took up her position in July 2013 after Alf Hitchcock left the county force to head up Ministry of Defence Police.

In a statement Ms Paul revealed she wants to take a “different direction in life’s great adventure”.

She said: “I will be getting married this year, will be travelling widely, and I look forward to spending quality time with my family, in particular my two elderly parents, all of whom have been extremely supportive throughout my career.

“I have had the honour and pleasure of working with some outstanding and selfless individuals over the years, in particular in Bedfordshire where the relentless commitment and dedication of the team has never ceased to impress me.”