CHIEF constable Colin Port was given a ceremonial send-off from Avon and Somerset police headquarters today (Friday) on the eve of his retirement from the force.

Two police outriders and officers from the force’s mounted section escorted Mr Port from the HQ in Portishead as officers and staff of all ranks lined the route to bid him farewell.

He will officially retire from the role at midnight tomorrow (Saturday) after a policing career spanning 38 years. Mr Port, who had been chief constable since 2005, tendered his resignation after he was told he would have to re-apply for his job by the force’s newly elected police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens.

He released a statement soon after saying he had ‘no intention of applying’ for the position and confirming his retirement from the force on January 26 – at the end of his fixed-term appointment.

His successor Nick Gargan will take over the role from March with the current deputy chief constable Rob Beckley taking the helm until then. Speaking after his departure, Mr Port said: “I was very moved by the kindness shown by my colleagues. I am enormously grateful to those officers and staff for the fantastic support shown to me and for the great job everyone is doing to keep the people of Avon and Somerset safe.”