NORTH Yorkshire’s chief constable was today retiring from the force – five years after he was handed the region’s top job.

Grahame Maxwell, who has served 28-and-a-half years’ service, will leave his £133,000 a year post, saying it has been a “privilege” serving York and North Yorkshire.

Chairman of the North Yorkshire Police Authority, Jane Kenyon, thanked Mr Maxwell, 51, for his achievements over the last five years – saying he has played a “key role” in driving down crime rates in the wake of severe financial restraints.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick will now act temporarily as chief constable of North Yorkshire Police until the new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), due to be elected in November, makes a substantive appointment once in office.

Last September, North Yorkshire Police Authority decided that Mr Maxwell’s appointment as head of the force would not be extended. It came in the wake of controversy after the embattled police chief admitted gross misconduct, following an investigation into claims he had used his position to gain an unfair advantage in obtaining a job on the force for a relative.

Despite hitting the headlines over the nepotism claims, Mr Maxwell has enjoyed an otherwise unblemished career.

Mr Maxwell took a robust approach to restructuring the North Yorkshire force in the wake of public spending cuts and often talked about the importance of local policing.

In his five years as force chief in North Yorkshire, Mr Maxwell created a number of new safer neighbourhood teams across the region and implemented a number of police stations in the heart of local communities.

Achievements also include the recent opening of Harrogate’s £18 million new police station and driving down crime rates across the county to record lows.

He said: “The fight against those who seek to commit crime and blight the lives of others has been relentless, but, for almost a year now, our communities have been the safest in England.

“As well as taking the fight to the criminals, it was important to me to ensure that the force was on a sound financial footing and sustainable into the future.

“The police service has seen a substantial cut in its budget and led to very difficult decisions. Radical transformation has helped us reduce the impact on front line services and yet still see a fall in recorded crime and the lowest rate antisocial behaviour in the country.”

He said he wished his successor every success for the year ahead.

Mr Maxwell began his career with Cleveland Police and served in all ranks up to Chief Superintendent when he became District Commander in Middlesbrough. He was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable with South Yorkshire Police in January 2005 and become the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police on May 17, 2007.