A LONG-SERVING Southend officer who was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for services to the public has retired.

Acting Chief Insp Bill Potter completed his last days work for the Southend community policing team on Friday after serving the town since 2008.

His services to Southend were rewarded earlier this year when he received the Queen’s Police Medal as part of her birthday honours list.

Mr Potter, who became a police officer in 1986 and joined Essex Police 18 years ago, initially worked in Rochford before he was promoted to sergeant when he served in Shoebury.

In 2008, he became the town centre sergeant for Southend and played a major role in the town centre management team, leading to a reduction in crime and antisocial behaviour.

He also helped develop a new approach to dealing with young offenders, by using a system to help divert them away from crime.

In 2012, he was promoted to Southend neighbourhood inspector and won the Essex Police Officer of the Year Award, after he was nominated by his colleagues and partners.

Now he has retired, his colleagues flooded social media to pay tribute to his work and career.

Acting Insp Ian Hughes, from Southend community policing team, said: “Just dropped the legend that’s Acting Chief Insp Bill Potter home after a curry to celebrate his last working day in the job.

“It’s been a privilege to work with a man that has had such a positive impact on Southend. Inspirational man.”

Force Control Room Inspector Sarah Harding, said: “One of my most favourite people I’ve ever worked with and knew he would keep it quiet when he finally retired.

“Absolute legend of an officer and bloke. Will be massively missed.”

Assistant Chief Constable, Andy Prophet, said: “Acting Chief Insp Bill Potter has been an integral part of policing in Southend and Essex Police for many years.

“A team player and a hugely dedicated local police leader.

“Well done and thank you Bill.”