Top city cop Barry Halliday has spoken of his heartbreak of being forced to quit his job as area police commander.
Barry, 48, is suffering from a chronic back problem and after 12 weeks sick leave is unfit to return.
“It’s very sad and I am disappointed. But I know Milton Keynes needs stability and it is not fair for me to continue,” he told the Citizen.
His replacement will be Superintendent Gez Chiariello, who is currently commander in Aylesbury.
Mr Chiariello who took the Aylesbury post just seven months ago.
Barry said: “Gez is a really great guy and I know he will do a good job in Milton Keynes.”
“We need strong leadership – MK is too important not to have that leadership and stability.”
‘People’s policeman’ Barry joined the force at the age of 18 and worked his way up the ranks to become commander in April 2012.
His first welcoming message in the new post was from a family he had helped 30 years previously when he was on the beat.
With a year to go until retirement, Barry will return to another post in the force.
He said: “I love the job. I’ve been everything from a beat officer to head of CID and chief superintendant –but being commander was the best. I enjoyed every minute of it.
“I am just devastated to leave the job and furious about this health problem. It is with a very heavy heart that I am going.”
Mr Chiariello, who has previously worked in Milton Keynes, said he is looking forward to returning to the city as commander.
A qualified martial arts instructor and FA football coach, he has pledged to deliver a service of which the community will be proud.
“My priority will include primarily protecting vulnerable people and keeping the communities safe,” he said.