Croydon is to get its first black top cop after the current borough commander announced plans to retire.

Chief Supt Andy Tarrant is to step down on December 9 after two years overseeing the borough’s policing and three decades in the force.

He will be replaced by Jeff Boothe, the former borough commander of Bexley, who will take up the post on December 12.

Chief Supt Tarrant’s time at the top of Croydon police began with and continued to be dogged by controversy, including allegations of sexual and racial discrimination and claims of racial profiling by the borough’s licensing team.

Shortly after replacing previous borough commander David Musker, Chief Supt Tarrant was required to undergo formal equality training after failing to act upon the victimisation of black firearms officer Carol Howard while he was head of the Diplomatic Protection Group.

PC Howard was awarded damages after an employment tribunal ruled she had been bullied and harassed by a colleague on the grounds of her sex and race.

Croydon licensing officers were also accused of racism earlier this year after officers allegedly pressured Dice Bar in Croydon town entre not to admit black customers or play Jamaican music.

Two months later it emerged he had given glowing references to a “bullying and racist” ex-sergeant who was sacked for gross misconduct after deliberately ignoring pleas to respond to a frenzied knife attack in Selsdon Park where father-of-three Andrew Else, 52, was stabbed more than 200 times.

In a statement read out at Kirsten Treasure’s disciplinary hearing in June, Chief Supt Tarrant said he would be “happy” for Sgt Treasure to work on “any of his teams,” subject to the outcome of her hearing.

But Chief Supt Tarrant, 48, said the controversy had not been a factor in his decision to retire, adding: “It is a fact I have done the [equality] training and there is no secret about it.

“I was never disciplined over what happened, everyone should always look for opportunities to develop so I was quite happy to do the training.”

He added: “I think the fact is it shouldn’t be about what ethnicity Jeff is, he is an excellent police officer.

“I think the borough is in a good place and he is the best person for the job, he is going to be brilliant for Croydon.”

Chief Supt Tarrant’s career began in 1987 as a PC in Stoke Newington.

In 1991 he was promoted to sergeant and transferred to Limehouse and was later promoted to inspector in 1996.

A year later he transferred to the territorial support group, which polices events, public disorder and critical incidents, before being promoted to chief inspector in 1999 and posted to Waltham Forest.

He was promoted to superintendent in 2004 and moved to the Lambeth.

A year later he was posted to the Hackney for two years, before joining the Met’s firearms command in 2007.

He was promoted to chief superintendent in 2010 and took up a post in the Diplomatic Protection Group before being posted in Croydon in 2014.

Chief Supt Tarrant added: “Having reflected on my time here, I am proud of the fact that the staff who are Croydon police have reduced crime and improved confidence and satisfaction.

“Croydon is now one of the top performers in relation to satisfaction with those who experience our services.

“The borough is in a good place with fewer victims of crime and increased numbers of police.”

Chief Supt Boothe, 51, lives in Croydon and is a public order and strategic firearms commander.

He joined the Met after 24 years in with British Transport Police, including 12 years within CID working in a variety of roles including deputy senior investigating officer on the Hatfield train crash.

He was appointed to Bexley in March 2015.

On his appointment to Croydon he said: “I am excited about taking on the challenge of providing a quality policing service for the people of Croydon.”

Chief Supt Tarrant is to retire to Nice, France, where he rents a house, with his wife and four-year-old son.