ACCRINGTON'S police chief has announced that he will be moving to pastures new in January.
Inspector Phil Cottam, who joined the team at Accrington Police Station in August 2001, has been appointed to the top job with Lancashire Constabulary's motorway road policing unit, based in Samlesbury.
Sergeant Julian Platt, a former officer with Accrington's town centre team who is currently based at Blackburn CID, will take over the role of inspector for the town early next year.
Inspector Cottam, who has been in the force for 23 years, said: "The motorway unit will be a new challenge for me but I am sad to be leaving Hyndburn.
"In the last two-and-a-half years I have made a lot of good friends in the community and I would just like to thank people for their support."
He added that he had seen many changes to both community-based and crime-based policing during his time here, such as the introduction of community beat managers and police community support officers.
He said: "Consulting with the area councils has led to a number of changes in the way that policing is done here, particularly with the introduction of community beat managers.
"From the feedback I have been getting, they are held in high esteem and are doing a really good job in building up confidence within communities. I hope that we can put more of these officers in place to carry on this good work.
"We have also done a lot of work on burglaries in the last few years, which has given us some very good results.
"In terms of drugs offences, we have also done a great deal, particularly in the last year with the street crime initiative and Operation Nimrod."
He added: "Sergeant Platt already has a well-grounded knowledge of the area and the staff that work here, and he will be promoted into this post when I leave. I will be helping him during the handover period.
"He will bring a fresh pair of eyes to the area and I know that he will be maintaining all the good things that I hope people have seen during my time here, especially the good relationships we have with the community."