After just four years in the job, Ian Arundale has decided to step down as Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police.
Mr Arundale comes across as a thoroughly decent man, and his decision to go and the impact yet another departure will have on the morale of the police service are a cause for regret. In common with other police forces, Dyfed Powys is facing a very difficult time as cuts and more cuts are imposed; Mr Arundale also made no secret of his unease with the idea of elected police commissioners. As one of the leading candidates in Dyfed Powys will almost certainly be John Davies, the leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, he was right to feel uncomfortable.
What his relationship was with the powers that be in Carmarthenshire we will probably never know, but Carmarthenshire County Council is almost certainly a very difficult beast to work with. Only a couple of years ago Meryl Gravell was making an abortive bid to take over the police and fire authorities so that she and Mark could run the whole shooting match.
More recently Mr Arundale discovered that he had inherited a nuclear accident in the shape of the Ammanford Police Station PFI, with vast amounts of money pouring out of an already squeezed budget to a local firm of contractors who do a lot of business with the council. While Mr Arundale was wrestling with the PFI bill and hoping to negotiate, or rather beg, for some concessions, the county council showed what it thought by awarding the same group a grant of over £1 million.
As we know, recent history is littered with examples of barking mad and dodgy senior police officers. Let's hope it's not our turn to get one of those.
A couple of days before Mr Arundale announced his decision, the Carmarthen Journal carried a short piece reporting that Dyfed Powys Police are considering launching a newsletter of their own. Presumably that would mark the end of their uncomfortable collaboration with Carmarthenshire News, the council's Pravda. Perhaps it was too expensive for them; perhaps they realised that in most households the rag is used in all sorts of innovative ways, but read only by sad bloggers.
Will Carmarthenshire News survive 2012, or is it about to go down with all hands? Watch this space.