The Chief Constable of Humberside Police said it was "a pleasure to be back at work" as he resumed his duties after the lifting of his suspension.
The chief constable met senior staff on arrival
The home secretary agreed to lift David Westwood's suspension, imposed in July following criticism in the Bichard inquiry into the Soham murders.
Under a deal struck with David Blunkett, the 55-year-old has agreed to retire a year early on 30 March 2005.
"Humberside is a good force," he said. "It is a privilege to lead them."
Mr Westwood was given a round of applause by staff who gathered outside Humberside Police headquarters in Hull to welcome him.
"I am pleased to be finishing the job I started," he said.
"When Sir Michael Bichard resumes to ask all parties to account for what they've done, I shall be there to show what Humberside Police has completed.
"As you know, the home secretary and I have an agreement that neither of us will be making press comments so that is all that I will be saying."
Mr Westwood was then greeted warmly by police authority chairman Colin Inglis who handed him back his police warrant card.
The chief constable thanked Mr Inglis for all his support before shaking hands with senior officers.
He had been suspended for 12 weeks following an unprecedented dispute between his authority and the home secretary.
Mr Blunkett had initially ordered his suspension after Sir Michael Bichard criticised Humberside Police and Mr Westwood for intelligence failures in the force's dealings with Ian Huntley between 1995 and 1998 when the double child killer was living in North East Lincolnshire.
During that time, Humberside Police had eight separate contacts with Huntley - four involving rape allegations.
Despite this, Huntley was allowed to take up a job as a school caretaker in Soham.
Following the publication of the Bichard report, Mr Westwood made it clear he believed he was uniquely placed to carry forward the necessary reforms to his force and insisted he would stay on and not resign.
He received the backing of the police authority following Mr Blunkett's suspension order but it had to back down after the Home Secretary took the matter to the High Court.
On Friday, the Home Office announced Mr Westwood would be able to return to his post on condition he takes early retirement at the end of March next year.
A new chief constable will now be appointed to take up the position in Humberside on 1 April.