Published Friday, 20 December 2013
PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie. (© Pacemaker)
Members of the Policing Board were told on Friday she will leave on 31 March 2014.
Ms Gillespie became Northern Ireland's first female DCC in 2009. She has served as a policewoman for 32 years, originally with RUC and then with the PSNI.
She was considered a frontrunner to succeed Matt Baggott as Chief Constable if he steps down as expected next year.
Paying tribute, Policing Board chair Anne Connolly said: "Judith has made an enormous contribution to policing in Northern Ireland throughout her career.
"Appointed the first female Assistant Chief Constable in the PSNI in 2004 she achieved further success when appointed Deputy Chief Constable in June 2009.
A strong advocate for women in policing Judith championed the introduction of the first Gender Action Plan and Diversity Strategy for policing in Northern Ireland.
"A positive role model, DCC Gillespie has used her wide ranging experience to provide inspiration and encouragement to officers and staff both within the Service, within the wider Northern Ireland community and within policing nationally and internationally."
Judith Gillespie, originally from north Belfast, joined the police in 1982.
The mother-of-two turned down the £500,000 Patten redundancy package two years ago, saying that she enjoys her work and "it's much more than money".
Last year Ms Gillespie was awarded a fáinne airgid, or silver fáinne, for learing the Irish language as part of the Líofa 2015 project.
She received an OBE in 2009.
A statement from the PSNI said: "We can confirm that Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie has today notified the Policing Board of her intention to retire from the Police Service of Northern Ireland on 31 March 2014.
"She has served as Deputy Chief Constable for the past four and a half years and has served a total of 32 years as both a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC and PSNI."
Justice Minister David Ford said: "Judith has successfully opened many doors that have changed the face of policing and made the PSNI an employer welcoming to everyone.
"In her role as a senior officer Judith has been a key driver of the reforms that have modernised the PSNI and made it fit for policing in the 21st century."
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said: "During her distinguished career, Judith has offered leadership to both the PSNI, RUC and the wider community.
"Her commitment to public service has been rightly recognised both by her colleagues and the community across Northern Ireland. I wish her well for the future."
The process of recruitment for a new Deputy Chief Constable will begin in the New Year.
© UTV News