Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty is to resign from the force in September, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has confirmed.

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Mr Keelty will step down on September 2, his 35th anniversary as a police officer.

In a joint statement, Mr Rudd and Attorney-General Robert McClelland said Mr Keelty had led the AFP through a significant and challenging period.

His time in the post included events such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Bali bombings, the Jakarta Embassy bombing, the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster and the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

“Mr Keelty has forged important relationships with law enforcement partners throughout the region,” Mr Rudd and Mr McClelland said.

He had also played a key role in driving greater cooperation with a number of commonwealth and state authorities to effectively address the threat of terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking.

Keelty \’a good copper\’

“The government congratulates Mr Keelty on his long record of public service and wishes him and his family well for his retirement.”

Earlier, the federal coalition paid tribute to Mr Keelty describing him as a “good copper”.

“He\’s has done a great job with the organisation,” opposition frontbencher Christopher Pyne told Sky News, adding Mr Keelty\’s resignation would be a great loss.

Mr Keelty, 54, became commissioner in 2001. He was the first commissioner to be appointed from within the ranks of the AFP and only the second to have served as commissioner for two terms.

He received Indonesia\’s highest policing award in 2003 for the AFP\’s close cooperation with the Indonesian National Police (INP) in combating terrorism.

Haneef affair controversy

But in recent years his tenure has been mired in controversy, most notably over the Haneef affair.

There were calls for him to quit following the bungled investigation into doctor Mohamed Haneef, who was arrested in Queensland on terror charges.

He has also been criticised for the slow police response to the murder of a man at Sydney airport during a brawl between rival bikie gangs.

Veteran Affairs Minister Alan Griffin acknowledged Mr Keelty\’s time as commissioner had had its “ups and downs”.

“It probably feels closer to 50,” he said referring to the commissioner\’s 35 year-career in the AFP. “It\’s a very tough job and Commissioner Keelty\’s done a good job over the years.”