IT came as little surprise in the end after months of internal speculation.
Now the race is on to find a new PSNI chief constable after Matt Baggott announced on Wednesday he was quitting after five years in the post.
The news means that there will be new faces at the top of the PSNI by the end of the year.
Judith Gillespie is leaving as deputy chief constable at the end of March.
Matt Baggott took up the job as head of the PSNI in August 2009 and his contract ends in September 2014.
There had been widespread internal speculation that he would got this year.
One informed source at PSNI HQ said: “When the internal email dropped this morning that he was leaving it didn’t come as a surprise.
“This job was not what he had expected. He thought he was coming hear in peacetime.
“But the reality was that the threat from dissident republicans increased and an officer was murdered on his watch.”
Mr Baggott He said it had been “a real privilege to lead the PSNI through the immense changes of the past few years”.
Mr Baggott added: “I am deeply proud of the courage and commitment of my colleagues and the enormous progress they have made on behalf of everyone.
“In my remaining months as chief my priorities will be to ensure the PSNI has the resources to deal effectively with the many challenges ahead and that our very personal, professional and protective service goes from strength to strength.”
Mr Baggott also forged ahead with streamlining the justice system.
During his time as chief constable, more than 600 people were charged for public order offences as a result of flag-related protests.
The appointment of a new chief constable is made by the Northern Ireland Policing Board and is subject to the approval of Justice Minister David Ford.