Lancashire Constabulary has said “highly respected and admired” Assistant Chief Constable Peter Lawson has died suddenly at his home.

Mr Lawson, 50, who took a high profile role during the search for missing mother Nicola Bulley earlier this year, was described as an “outstanding officer who served the communities of Lancashire with pride”.

His death on Sunday is believed to be “medical-related” and has been referred to the coroner, the force said.

The “admired” officer started his career in Preston before serving all over the county in a variety of uniformed roles.

He was involved in the policing of many high-profile events and incidents during his career, from sporting occasions to protests and large civic and protection events.

He appeared at press conferences during the search for Ms Bulley, who disappeared after dropping her two daughters at school in St Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, earlier this year.

Her body was found in the River Wyre on February 19, about a mile from where she vanished while walking her dog in St Michael’s on Wyre, on January 27.

The force was criticised over its handling of the investigation and the disclosure of Ms Bulley’s personal information.

Mr Lawson also gave evidence to the Manchester Arena terror attack inquiry.

Lancashire’s Chief Constable Chris Rowley said: “This is incredibly sad and tragic news. My thoughts and prayers are with all of Pete’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“Pete’s death will come as a shock to the entire force and the wider police family across the country. He was an outstanding officer who served the communities of Lancashire with pride.

“He was also highly respected and admired by all who knew him and worked with him.

“Our deepest condolences go out to his family and we will support them as much as we can.

“We will offer support to all our staff and those who worked with Pete, as we mourn his loss.”