LANCASHIRE'S top police officer has announced he will retire next year.

Lancashire Constabulary Chief Constable Andy Rhodes has spent his entire policing career with the county's force and has been in his current post since June 2017.

He will step down from the role in spring 2021.

Lancashire police commissioner Clive Grunshaw praised Mr Rhodes' work in ensuring 'excellent policing through a sustained period of austerity', and the fact the force was rated as "outstanding" in 2020 by Government inspectors.

Mr Rhodes said: “I am absolutely delighted to be finishing a wonderful career at the very top of policing, here in Lancashire.

"I am fast approaching 30 years’ service and I felt that now was the right time to let the commissioner know my intentions about my plans to retire.

"Appointing a chief constable is a long process, so I wanted to ensure that there is a decent run-in to my retirement so that a suitable replacement can be found for Lancashire Constabulary. However, there is still a lot to do over the next nine months and I’m not hanging up my uniform just yet.”

Mr Grunshaw said: "I want to thank Andy personally for his commitment to policing and public safety over three decades, and in particular for his support over the past three years in carrying out my role.

"It has been a privilege to work with such a committed and inspirational chief constable and together we have created a strong foundation on which to build.

"Throughout his time in charge Andy has always had the best interests of the people of Lancashire at the very heart of his actions.

"He also been a passionate advocate for the welfare of an ever increasing diverse and inclusive workforce and has always strived to improve the wellbeing of officers and staff alike, something he can be rightly proud of.

"It is a huge honour and responsibility to appoint the next chief constable of Lancashire Constabulary and I am confident that with Lancashire being such an incredible place to live and the force being such a high performing force I will have no problem whatsoever in finding an exceptional candidate to build on the standards we have jointly established, whilst ensuring that Lancashire Constabulary meets fresh challenges and that we strive to make our communities safe.

"For the next nine months, I know that Andy will continue to serve with enthusiasm and distinction and I look forward to a continuation of the successful relationship I have forged with Andy and to prepare the foundations for his successor.”

Details of the procedure to recruit the next chief constable will be announced in due course, with the official launch of the process in September 2020.