Controversial Bay of Plenty police leader Superintendent Gary Smith has left the region's top job to take up a position with the New Zealand Police in London.
Mr Smith has not worked in Rotorua since December last year - not long after an employment row with police hierarchy in Wellington.
He had been the area commander in charge of Bay of Plenty police since 2001 and oversaw police staff in Rotorua, Taupo, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Tauranga/Western Bay and the Bay's headquarters in Rotorua.
In August, last year, it was revealed Mr Smith took a personal grievance case against his bosses in Wellington over a sudden independent review of the way he went about his job.
In a statement last week, Mr Smith said his family had enjoyed living in Rotorua but the new role in London was fulfilling a long-held desire to work and live in Europe for a period.
"I am extremely grateful that I am able to do this with police."
Mr Smith applied for the police liaison officer role in London, a two-year job which could be extended to four years.
Based at New Zealand House, he will liaise with United Kingdom and European police forces and agencies, keep an eye on trends in the policing world and help facilitate operational help if required.
Bay of Plenty district communications manager Jacky James said Mr Smith was an expert on crime and crash reduction and had spent the past eight months providing advice in Counties Manukau as part of their "300 growth project".
It will take several months for a replacement to be appointed. Inspector Mark Harrison is filling the acting district commander's role.
Mr Smith brought a new style of policing to the Bay of Plenty. His philosophies, known as crime science, involve predicting where and when crime is to occur and deploying staff to combat it.
In 2003, he announced he wanted to lead the district to a 50 per cent crime reduction by 2008. Although that was not achieved, big reductions have been seen across the district.
His contract was renewed in 2007, leaving him in his position at least until 2012.
Last year, the Employment Relationships Authority heard Mr Smith objected to having an independent review of his "management practices and processes".
Mr Smith told the authority the review was "simply announced" in April last year.
He said he told his supervisor, Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope, the motives for the review had not been explained to him, nor did he know why the review had been directed at him and not at any other officer of his seniority.
The matter was resolved at mediation Mr Smith refused to say last year whether he was given a payout as part of the resolution.
Yesterday, Mr Smith said the Bay was a challenging and rewarding place to work.
He said many staff worked hard to achieve excellent results and, although there was still more to do, there had been some very good progress.
He said he had taken positives from an improved relationship between Maori and the police, which he said "I think has made me a better person".
- APN News and Media