IN what could be the plot for Hollywood's latest 'buddy cop film', this week will see North Wales Police’s most senior officer go on one last patrol with his rookie son who joins the Force more than 30 years on from his father first walking the beat.

Following his last shift on Thursday evening, Chief Constable Mark Polin will then retire from his post to take up the role of chairman of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, but not before a final look around the patch he has served for nine years.

"James joined us back in December last year and we will be patrolling in Rhyl which will enable me to check out the town given some of the concerns that were raised to me last year," says CC Polin, reflecting on his last night as a serving officer. "I've said to my son he needs to understand I'm doing the driving and he is doing the paperwork and if I get called back to court I'll be charging the Force rather than the Health Board!"

When CC Polin came to North Wales back in 2009, he found a Force suffering from dispute and dissension mainly concerning the behaviour of former Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom. The outspoken police chief often courted controversy and publicity through his vocal views on speeding motorists and the legalisation of drugs with The Sun newspaper even dubbing him the "Mad Mullah of the Traffic Taleban".

"From an operational point of view the feedback I continually got was that the organisation was only focused on one thing and that was enforcement," remembers CC Polin. "There was a determination to prosecute motorists and a lot was being done to arrest young people and criminalise them when actually it wasn't merited. The Force had the second highest detection rate but it was built on straw because of some of the things that were going on.

"We needed to recover public confidence and get some balance back. I recall the Police Authority would reguarly ask me where the detection rate would end up and I get kept saying I wasn't going to predict numbers because it would end up where it was going to end up after getting the balance right. There was a need to change the culture of the organisation and change how performance was measured - it took a while but I think we got there."

Before moving to North Wales as Chief Constable, CC Polin was Deputy Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Constabulary. On a national level he has chaired the Chief Police Officers Staff Association and has been leading on the design, delivery and development of the chief officer and direct entry selection programmes. It all begs the question why leave now?

"We've all got to go at some point and I think the time is right for someone else to come in and take the organisation forward. I think we're at a crucial point with regards the future direction and the priorities need to be looked at with the Commissioner and someone else ought to be taking that on. I've been here nine years and with 35 years service overall I need to go and hand over the reigns."

CC Polin, who was awarded an OBE this year in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to policing, also believes he has overseen a crucial change in the Force's outlook and behaviour leaving the region a safer place despite the many challenges facing a modern day police force.

"Public confidence and satisfaction has risen and the organisation is far more cohesive than it was," he says. "I see it on the ground and I see it with my senior managers. The level of commitment and enthusiasm for the job is palpable and that is important when once upon a time people were not supporting each other and there were divisions. If there's one thing I'm proud of it's that I leave here with the Force in a really good place culturally and with a real sense of common purpose.

"My only other regret is how much time I've had to focus on national stuff which even though it has delivered benefits to the people of North Wales, has taken me away from here on occasssion. I'll be saying to the new chief if there was one thing I would do it's to get out there and be visible because that opportunity will only be there for so long before other demands start to inhibit your availabilty.

Facing a 20% cut in police budgets, CC Polin admits the job has been far from easy with the challenge of so-called "county lines" drug gangs proving just one of the new crime trends he has had to deal with.

"The biggest challenge has been that I feel like I've lived with austerity from the moment I've been here," he says. "I came in when the savings requirement was obvious but there was no savings programme and that became one of my first priorities. "I've been living with that ever since and every year we've faced a significant financial challenge which has been tough and has been difficult to sell to the staff I work alongside.

"Ten years ago we would not have predicted that the biggest threats to our society in North Wales would be 'county lines' drug dealing, cyber crime, modern day slavery and child sex exploitation. This has caused us to re-orientate where our resources are needed and that has provided a challenge regarding how we maintain visible policing such as the public have come to know in the past."

The county lines model sees dealers from larger cities use young people to spread their trade into smaller towns and rural areas, but with less money, combatting serious crime and making sure people feel safe is "becoming more difficult now", added Mr Polin.

"As things stand the impact of cuts is set to continue and they will be the theme for the organisation going forward," he adds. "Central Government is now starting to realise that the police service is doing things that it would not have done when I joined the Force. We either need to recalibrate the mission and accept that or we change the mission and give the service more resources. These are the options the Government will have to consider as part of their forthcoming spending review."

For most workers retirement means a chance to relax, put your feet up and reflect on a long career, but CC Polin's decision to take up the role of Chairman of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board at the start of September means he will become responsible for an organisation in some degree of turmoil since it was placed in special measures following the scandal surrounding elderly mental health care in the region and concerns over leadership.

"There is clearly a huge challenge to take on," he agrees. "I can't tell you how many times people have used the phrase 'out of the frying pan, into the fire' and of course I thought long and hard about applying for the position and did a lot of research beforehand so I know the scale of the challenge.

"But I'm looking forward to starting on September 1 and I'm determined to give it a go because I cherish being able to work in the public sector and having the chance to improve our services. There are no more important services than policing and health and I need to stop sometimes being a critic of the heath board and get in there and try and help them out."