THE CID Steve Hinksman served for so long is now a 'crime management unit', but he won't be part of the new era.

Steve's detective skills have helped crack many of the county's major criminal cases over the past decade. Now it is time to step back from the frontline he has faced for 33 years.

Steve retires at the end of the month and moves to Tenby, planning to take life at a steadier pace.

He has been policing since his teens. But the service he joined as a 16-year-old cadet has seen significant change - not least the turning of traditional CID teams into Crime Management Units (CMUs).

The workload does not differentiate, though. CMU tasks are still complex, sensitive and demanding total dedication. Steve has seen more than his share of such operations, most recently the Peterchurch kidnapping and suspicious death of publican Albert Ryall at Risbury - which remains unresolved.

Originally from the West Midlands, Steve transferred to Herefordshire division in 1980 to work patrol shifts out of Hereford central.

By 1982 he was at South Wye as beat officer for Hinton and Putson. Four years later came the swap to 'civvies' and the CID.

There, Detective Sergeant Jim Lucas pays a simple but telling tribute from one investigator to another.

"Steve looks at inquiries from every angle and leaves no stone unturned. He is a dedicated officer, well liked and respected among colleagues; his experience and sense of humour will be missed by us all."

These comments echoed by CMU head Detective Chief Inspector Dave Morgan, who described Steve as a 'top class' operative with a 'proven pedigree'.

"He'll be hard to replace," he said.