Richmond's Borough Commander has bid farewell to the Met after 30 years with the police force.

Chief Superintendent Ian Edwards is moving to pastures new having steered policing across Richmond for almost three years.

But far from resting on his laurels, Ch Supt Edwards, 48, is to take up a civilian role in his home borough as Hillingdon Council's strategic partnership manager.

Of the life change he said: "I have done my 30 years and am moving on. But I will miss many things about being Borough Commander."

Ch Supt Edwards said he has seen great changes in the police force since he walked a Holloway beat as a constable in 1976.

He said: "It was a completely different era - it was fun. But I'm sure young police officers joining now will say the same.

"The biggest change since I've been with Richmond is the introduction of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams. That's made an enormous difference to policing and to our work with the community.

"Richmond is ahead of the game with its community panels, it's a more outward facing force now."

Superintendent Jim Davis will be temporarily filling the Borough Commander's shoes until a replacement is selected, but Ch Supt Edwards said he has not thrown his hat into the ring for the job permanently. He said: "Jim undoubtedly has the qualities for the role, but has spent two years as operations manager and is a master of that game."

The Borough Commander's departure from the force follows hotly-opposed plans to build a custody suite in residential Teddington.

Of the timing he said: "This is not tail between the legs. Part of me feels disappointed I won't be here to see adequate custody facilities in the borough, but my retirement was up and serendipity was telling me to apply.

"A new Borough Commander can now come in and look at things afresh."

Ch Supt Edwards will be marking his retirement in a low-key way: "I'm actually a shy person - I'm not the centre of attraction at a party - but the mayor has invited me to lunch with all his colleagues and I look forward to saying thank you' to the community partnership."