HAMPSHIRE'S top cop, chief constable Alex Marshall, is to leave the force next year.

The news of his departure was revealed today following an announcement in the House of Commons by Home Secretary Theresa May that he will take up a new role nationally.

Mr Marshall has been chief constable in Hampshire since October 2008 and has been responsible for overseeing drastic cutbacks to the force, including closing police stations and selling off buildings while also reducing staff numbers.

He will remain in the same rank in his new job as he is appointed the chief executive designate with the new National College of Policing - a role he will take up in early 2013.

No announcement has been made of who will take over the top job of policing in the county but it will be a decision made by whoever is appointed the Police and Crime Commissioner next month.