THE Deputy NSW Police Commissioner, Dave Owens, has given notice, packed up his desk and will soon be medically discharged from the force he has loved for more than 30 years.
Mr Owens, who has been in charge of Specialist Operations at NSW Police, informed Commissioner Andrew Scipione of his decision to quit on Monday, after months of speculation on his future.
Mr Owens said yesterday that a second shoulder reconstruction plus serious back and spinal issues were the only reasons he was leaving the force.
''There's no drama, there's no animosity. I've loved the cops; I still do,'' he said yesterday. ''I haven't made a secret of it.''
Mr Owens said he had thought about it ''long and hard'' since he went on sick leave in December last year, but not even the offer of a five-year contract could improve his physical condition.
''I told [Mr Scipione] there was no guarantee I could continue to give 210 per cent,'' he said.
Mr Owens said rumours that there was something more sinister to his departure were an ''absolute load of crap''.
With his departure expected to lead to some internal wrangling, the Herald asked him who he would tip as his replacement.
While noting there was ''plenty of talent'' to choose from, including his temporary replacement, Assistant Commissioner David Hudson, Mr Owens said the decision may not be made until the government finalised its response to the Parsons report into the force's structure.
The report, by the former assistant commissioner Peter Parsons, recommended there be two deputy commissioners, not three as there are now.
Catherine Burn is understood to be jostling to move into the operational position vacated by Mr Owens, a step up from her role as Deputy Commissioner of Corporate Services.
Mr Scipione is understood to be pushing to keep three deputies, leaving the door open for Mr Hudson to be promoted permanently.
Asked what his career highlight had been, Mr Owens said: ''Making deputy commissioner.''