Tributes paid after former Bedfordshire Police chief constable Alf Hitchcock dies
- Credit: Archant
Tributes have been paid to highly-respected former Bedfordshire chief constable Alf Hitchcock, who today died at the age of 58.
Police flags across the county are being flown at half-mast as a sign of respect to the top cop – who served in the police for 40 years, and headed the Beds force from 2011 to 2013.
During that two-year stint he was praised for leading the force out of a period of scrutiny over its performance and finances. He left to become chief constable of the Ministry of Defence Police – a post he still held at the time of his death following a brief illness.
A Beds police spokeswoman said today: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm former Bedfordshire Police chief constable Alf Hitchcock has sadly passed away this morning.
“Alf was a hugely popular chief constable throughout the force, across partnerships, and many organisations that he became involved with across Bedfordshire.
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“We are liaising closely with the Ministry of Defence Police, where Alf was serving as the chief constable, and our condolences and thoughts are very much with his wife and their two daughters.
“Our force flags are being flown at half-mast as a mark of respect, and a book of condolence will be opened in due course.”
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Olly Martins, who served as Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner from 2012 to 2016, tweeted: “Saddened by tragic news about former Beds police chief Alf Hitchcock. A warm smile and always professional.”
Mr Hitchcock started his career as an 18-year-old in 1977, when he joined Lancashire Constabultary. He later joined the Metropolitan Police, where he served as commander for specialilst operations before progressing to deputy assistant commissioner and acting assistant comissioner.
He left the force in 2009 to become deputy chief constable at the National College of Police Leadership, where he remained until he joined Beds police in 2011.
Mr Hitchcock, who was appointed CBE in the New Year Honours in December, also served as national lead for knife crime from 2008 and as national lead for equality and human rights between 2012 and 2016.
Eamon Keating, chairman of the Defence Police Federation, said he is “shocked and saddened” by Mr Hitchcock’s death.
He said: “He was a fantastic person who will be deeply missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
West Yorkshire Police chief constable Dee Collins added: “Just heard incredibly sad news about colleague Alf Hitchcock passing away. A gentleman who will be missed – thoughts with his family and friends.”