After five years leading the Herts police force, chief constable Andy Bliss has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the summer.

During his time in charge he has overseen a string of high-profile assignments including the Olympic Games at Lee Valley, the policing of numerous music festivals and royal visits and he said this week: “My time with Hertfordshire has been both challenging and fulfilling and it’s been a big decision to move on from a job that I love.

“I am taking the opportunity to pursue my interest in archaeology and seek new challenges.

“I’m proud about all the work done by so many dedicated and talented colleagues to keep people safe, catch criminals and tackle emerging crime trends.

“The force is well placed financially and operationally and has a strong sense of direction.

“We have sustained neighbourhood policing and invested in key areas like rural policing, cyber-crime and protecting vulnerable people – all vital if we are to continue to be successful in tackling crime.

“Although I am leaving it will be business as usual and I have a packed diary of events and meetings which I will be attending throughout the summer months.”

County police and crime commissioner David Lloyd said: “Andy is an exceptional chief constable.

“He brings a keen intellect and a quiet authority to policing.

“On a national basis his successful work to counter illegal drugs in the country has been one of the most important roles in policing.”