Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer announces retirement

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer of Devon and Cornwall Police has announced that he will retire from the force this summer.

Apr 29, 2022
By Tony Thompson
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer

In an internal message he thanked colleagues past and present for their professionalism, sense of public service and courage. Having first come to the force in 2010 as deputy chief constable from the Metropolitan Police Service where he began his service in 1986, he was appointed temporary chief constable in 2012 notably leading the force that first received the Olympic torch and later substantively as chief constable, from 2013.

Mr Sawyer said: “It has been an honour to be a member of the Devon and Cornwall police family and a privilege to be chief constable. The police family works within the context of a constantly developing and fast-moving society and it is vital that as a service we are able to learn, evolve and improve to keep pace with the communities we serve. In Devon and Cornwall I have seen my officers, staff and volunteers rising to that challenge every single day.

“The purpose of policing, in its most simple form, is to be a member of the public sworn or appointed as an officer, member of staff or volunteer, to serve and safeguard other members; even laying down their lives for others. In return they ask for support rather than judgement, acknowledging that as human beings sometimes they strive and fall short. The public allow the police many powers on their behalf and the use of them must be proportionate and fair; their misuse and abuse damages the trust of the public in policing and the force must always be on its guard to protect and raise standards.

“As chief constable I still have a great deal to do between now and my departure, not least supporting the police and crime commissioner in the delivery of her plan whilst she searches for a new chief constable to take the force forward.”

Police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez said: “I would like to thank the chief constable for his years of exceptional service, for his support in delivering the strategic aims of my police and crime plan and for his unrelenting focus on delivering a world class police force.

“Devon and Cornwall Police is responsible for policing the largest force area in England, our communities might enjoy low crime rates but they face many unique problems. The chief constable has understood those challenges and led a number of changes to create a police force that is in good shape to rise to them. I wish him the best of fortune for the future.”

Mr Sawyer had originally intended to retire shortly after the G7 Summit but remained as chief constable to see through the initial stages and response to the fatal shooting of five people in the Keyham area of Plymouth by 22-year-old Jake Davison on August 12, 2021.

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