THE chief constable of Dorset Police has resigned after eight years in charge.

Martin Baker's tenure as the top officer in the county comes to an end after 38 years as a police officer and he said he “feels the time is right”.

The resignation comes after the chief constable presided over the Olympic sailing events in Dorset and they passed without any major incidents.

He will also leave before the new Police and Crime Commissioners are voted in this November.

Mr Baker said: “After eight years as Chief Constable in Dorset and over 38 years as a serving police officer, I feel the time is right to hand over leadership of the force.

“I consider it a privilege to have been the chief constable of such an excellent force, the success of which has been entirely due to the commitment, drive and ability of our police officers, police staff, special constables and volunteers.”

Mr Baker has been Chief Constable of Dorset Police since January 2005.

He began his career with the Metropolitan police in 1974 and served there in both uniform and detective roles, including two spells with the anti-terrorist squad.

He also worked at West Mercia Constabulary, Gwent Police and Gloucester Constabulary.

Michael Taylor, the chairman of the police authority, said: “The police authority wishes to express its appreciation for the huge contribution Mr Baker has made to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the force.

“Under his leadership crime has consistently fallen and public confidence increased despite unprecedented cuts in funding.”

Clive Chamberlain, chairman of Dorset Police Federation, also praised Mr Baker.

He said: “He's presided over Dorset Police during its most challenging time as he faced government cuts.

“He has always maintained that buildings and other things would be sacrificed before people and he has been true to his word.”

Deputy chief constable Debbie Simpson has been appointed as acting chief constable and will start on October 1.

Assistant chief constable Adrian Whiting will become acting deputy chief constable.