DURSLEY Police Station prepares to bid farewell to an experienced sergeant who has kept our streets safe for over a decade.

Thursday, October 25, is Police Sergeant Neil Gibbs’ last day before retiring from his 12-year-long role of leading the teams of constables and PCSOs covering Dursley, Cam, Wotton, Berkeley and Severnside.

Sgt Gibbs has worked thoughout the county in several police forces for 28 years, including at Gloucester, Stroud, Nailsworth and Stonehouse stations.

Two new sergeants to the area will take on Sgt Gibbs role as of next week.

Sgt Simon Davey has been promoted from Gloucester Police Force to cover the Dursley, Cam and Wotton-Under-Edge area while Sgt Samantha Tuley is moving from Stroud Police Force to cover Berkeley and Severnside.

Musing on his career, the 55-year-old believes the biggest change in his time has been the advent of neighbourhood policing and believes the force has made vast steps in achieving this.

"I think the force has become more sympathetic to the local people and more capable of responding to their concerns," he said.

"I believe we are able to understand the needs of the community a lot better than we used to.

"I am very proud of the accomplishments the team and I have made here, introducing a form of policing that builds trust and confidence in the community."

The father of two has decided to undertake the task of maintaining Shrubberies School in Stonehouse as their caretaker and pool manager.

He has said he is sorry to leave the force and is a little bit apprehensive after so many years but feels the service is in a good position for the future.

His colleagues were keen to express to the Gazette the difference he made to the team and to the area.

"He has shown great pride and respect for the community he works in," said PC Mark Wilson.

"Over the years he has built a wealth of community knowledge which will be missed."

PCSO Josh Griffiths, who has worked with him for over four years, said: "He’s been a brilliant sergeant, he has always been there when you needed him.

"It’s a shame to see him go."

"I always worked well with him," said PC Jaine Simner, who worked with Sgt Gibbs in Stroud as well as at Dursley Police Station.

"He’s a fair and straight man. He will be sadly missed."