Sussex Police chief constable to step down

The chief constable of Sussex Police has announced he will be stepping down after more than 30 years’ service.

Mar 6, 2020
By Paul Jacques

Giles York has been the most senior police officer in the county since 2014 and has led Sussex Police through “one of the most extraordinary and difficult periods in policing history”.

Mr York, who awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the 2015 New Year Honours list, said: “It has been an absolute privilege to have been a police officer for more than 30 years, to have worked with so many fantastic, hard-working, loyal and selfless people, and an honour to have protected and served the public.”

He added: “I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed a career that has been as rewarding as it has been challenging – from beat officer to the most senior detective in charge of policing the ports in Kent, to the operational world of counter-terrorism and serious organised crime in South Wales.

“As a chief officer for the past 11 years, I have led Sussex Police through what has been one of the most extraordinary and difficult periods in policing history. During that time, I am proud to have cultivated an increasingly diverse organisation that begins to reflect the communities we serve.

“UK policing rightly remains the envy of people in both the public and private sector world over. Despite this, I find the intelligence and professionalism found within policing is still largely overlooked and this still needs to change.”

Mr York said his decision to leave the service had not been an easy one and follows “much soul searching” with his family.

“There are so many compelling reasons to stay. However, anyone in policing will know, the impact of this job on you and your family cannot be under-estimated,” he said. “It has been through their unwavering support that I have been able to carry out my public duty for all these years and now is the right time for me to give back. Knowing the challenges of policing so well, my colleagues will always have my undaunted support and admiration for the difference they make every day.”

Sussex police and crime commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne said she had been pleased to appoint Mr York to lead Sussex Police as chief constable for the past six years.

“I have really enjoyed working with him throughout my years as PCC and have tremendous respect for his integrity, his enthusiasm for digital innovation and especially his commitment to equality and diversity in policing,” she added.

“Mr York had to lead the force through a major transformation in local policing that was undeniably difficult for officers and staff and often unpopular with our communities. To his enormous credit, he has listened to the public and to me, and delivered on the promise to improve policing visibility in our neighbourhoods now that more resources have become available.

“During his tenure as chief constable, Sussex Police has made huge strides in how it deals with domestic violence, rape and sexual assault and with previously under-reported crimes like stalking.”
Ms Bourne said Mr York has instituted an “agile culture of learning and continuous improvement, which his successor can build on”.

“I’d like to thank him for his candour in our weekly meetings and recognise his genuine commitment to his staff and to keeping the public safe,” she said. “I wish him every success in the next step in what has been an exemplary and selfless career in public service.”

Mr York started his police service in Maidstone with Kent Police in 1990 and was promoted through a number of operational areas, leaving as head of Special Branch in 2004.

He was appointed assistant chief constable with South Wales Police in 2005 where he was the lead for local policing, operational policing and crime and also led the Welsh counter-terrorism and serious and organised crime teams. He was appointed deputy chief constable at Sussex Police in 2008 and became chief constable in 2014.

Sussex Police said Mr York had been a “leading light nationally” in promoting equality policing, adding: “He is a champion of inclusive employment across all aspects of diversity with Sussex Police regularly featuring in the Stonewall top 100 employers.

“As UN Women’s global law enforcement champion for HeForShe, Mr York has secured a pledge from every force to promote greater representation of women in senior roles and tackle gender-based violence. He has received special recognition for his work in advancing gender equality in policing.”

Mr York is vice-chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the National Police Business Area lead for workforce futures. He also led the Minerva programme, providing opportunity for 25 forces to work towards using common business processes.

He is the national senior responsible officer for Digital First, identifying the best way for the digital transfer of evidence through policing and across to the criminal justice system, and for intellectual property crime.

Mr York, who is a trustee of the Police Arboretum Memorial Trust, the charity behind plans for the UK’s first national police memorial, will leave in the summer.

Ms Bourne is expected to announce details of the procedure to recruit the next chief constable in the coming weeks.

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