Officer in charge of protecting William and Kate resigns

Glad to see the back of them? Sarah Hamlin has resigned with a controversial series of tweets. Photo / Getty
Glad to see the back of them? Sarah Hamlin has resigned with a controversial series of tweets. Photo / Getty

The senior police officer in charge of protecting Prince William and wife Kate at their home in Norfolk has dramatically quit her post after apparently criticising her force publicly on social media.

Norfolk and Suffolk assistant chief constable Sarah Hamlin, 48 - who earned a salary of £100,000 - announced her departure after 30 years' service in a series of controversial tweets today.

The officer was appointed in 2014 to lead the Royalty Protection team providing security to William, Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte at their home Anmer Hall on the Queen's Sandringham estate.

But this morning she astonished her 3,600 followers on her official Twitter account by saying that she was leaving as her "values" no longer fitted with the force.

She tweeted: "After 30 years @NorfolkPolice I've resigned to the fact that my values no longer fit the org.

I can't make a difference, support front-line."

In a later tweet, she posted: "And so I wish colleagues & friends all the best. Let's hope policing can recover & the officers & staff welfare is prioritised."

Ms Hamlin who was appointed to her ACC post in June 2014, then added: "To clarify I am retiring! Looking forward to spending time with family and friends. Playing golf and kayaking!"

The mother-of-two did not respond to requests to clarify why she appeared to be saying that her values no longer matched those of Norfolk Police which she joined at the age of 18.

The Norfolk force has been forced to make a series of cuts in the last five years to trim its budget by £25million. Money has been saved with a string of re-organisations and by jointly running many services with Suffolk Police.

Last week the force said it was still trying to save a further £5million when it announced a plan to revamp its website to allow members of the public to fill in forms to report crimes on-line.

As part of the plan, it announced a pilot scheme to temporarily close the public desk for visitors to report incidents at Thetford police station.

A sign at the station will instead direct visitors to the local library so they can report incidents on-line with trained librarians helping them to fill out forms if they did not have internet access themselves.

Ms Hamlin joined Norfolk Constabulary in 1986 and was initially based at King's Lynn, serving both in uniform and as a detective in all ranks up to and including Chief Inspector.

She was promoted to ACC in June 2014 when she was made the collaborative lead for Protective Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, overseeing the delivery of serious and organised crime, intelligence, major investigation, forensics and specialist operations along with Criminal Justice and Royalty Protection.

In February this year, she wrote a lengthy piece on her blog comparing her career to skiing, saying she endured "a lot of ups and downs and most definitely some challenging mountains to conquer."

She listed advice which she would have given herself on becoming a police officer 30 years ago, saying she always "had to be responsible, accountable - never off duty."

Senior police officer Sarah Hamlin. Photo / Norfolk Police
Senior police officer Sarah Hamlin. Photo / Norfolk Police

Ms Hamlin added: "I genuinely can't walk past trouble. And I take on everyone's issues because I want to make stuff ok and fix problems. I don't know what it's like to walk on by."

She also urged young officers to be true to themselves, saying: "A lot has been written about the culture of policing.

"However, I believe the value of my contributions has been about continuing to stand by my personal values and beliefs.

"My tough 'downhill ski' moments have been when I have been asked to work contrary to my personal beliefs.

"But when I've challenged views I feel less stressed. Even if others don't agree, I can at least say that I discharged my personal responsibility by pointing out the alternative view."

She added in the blog: "Don't make yourself indispensable. No matter how much you think some people will notice, they will only notice if it suits them.

"Look after your mental health just as much as your physical health. Listen to those who genuinely care for you in and out of work. Don't be played by agendas.

"People will use you. It's your choice to be used but also your choice not to be. And therefore expecting reward or recognition is a fallacy. Some people have enough emotional intelligence to say thanks. Many don't - but choose to try and do the right thing regardless.

"Trying to do the right thing is enough. In policing you will often have to make the 'least worst decision' and expect someone will criticise you.

A spokeswoman for Norfolk Constabulary said she was unable to comment on Ms Hamlin's tweets, saying: "It's not for us to discuss. We are not going to comment further."

Instead the force issued a statement saying that "one of East Anglia's most senior police officers has announced her retirement".

The announcement included a statement from Ms Hamlin saying: "I've had a fantastic career and thoroughly enjoyed my 30 years with Norfolk Constabulary and latterly in also working with the Suffolk Constabulary.

"I have many fond memories and without doubt these are the best forces I could have wished to work with.

"I consider though that now is the right time for me to retire to spend more time with family and friends as I look to pursue my other dreams."

Norfolk's Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: "As an Assistant Chief Constable for both forces, Sarah has made some significant contributions across many different areas.

"As head of protective services she has helped shape everything from intelligence to major investigations, and throughout her career she has worked closely with some of the most vulnerable members of society.

"Alongside this, Sarah has played a key role in helping us all to think differently about how we deliver policing in today's online world."

Suffolk's Chief Constable Gareth Wilson said: "Sarah's joint role across Suffolk and Norfolk helped us to work together more effectively.

"In this challenging financial climate, collaboration has helped deliver our services more efficiently and Sarah's knowledge and experience has made a real difference."

Lorne Green, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Lorne, added: "I was sorry to hear the news that ACC Sarah Hamlin will be leaving Norfolk Police.

"In the three-and-a-half months I have been Police and Crime Commissioner, I have had the opportunity to work with her a number of times and have been impressed by her commitment and professionalism.

"I am aware of the important contribution she has made over 30 years and am disappointed the Constabulary will no longer benefit from her knowledge and dedication. I know she had even more to give, but wish her well in her retirement."

Ms Hamlin was praised in 2001 for starting up the SOS Bus Project, a multi-agency initiative to assist young people needing help in Norwich's club land.

The project which is still running acts as a first point of contact for young people who may be suffering illness or injury, emotional distress or be vulnerable as a result of being unable to get home.

The shock announcement on Twitter comes after Ms Hamlin used her social media page to hit back at complaints regarding a police terrorism exercise carried out in Norwich earlier in June.

Locals living in Norwich criticsed the training exercise, which took place between the hours of 1am and 4am and many said it woke them up and left them feeling frightened.

The ACC added that officers were simply trying to keep the public safe after the brutal Orlando massacre, when gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people in Florida.

She tweeted: "Having seen the tragedies in Orlando I am flabbergasted to hear of complaints when @NSFirearmsDept are training to keep us safe."

Ms Hamlin later posted to say add the force had informed people about the drill and "tried not to frighten folk whilst doing realistic training".

- Daily Mail

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