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Top Yorkshire cop sacked for gross misconduct

One of the region's top police chiefs has been dismissed for gross misconduct after his conviction for drink-driving.

David Knopwood Credit: Ross Parry

Detective Chief Superintendent David Knopwood was West Yorkshire's most senior detective and was head of the division responsible for all major criminal investigations in the force.

He was stopped in Knaresborough and had been banned for failing to provide a specimen for a breath test.

Detective Superintendent Osman Khan said: "West Yorkshire Police expects the highest standards of professionalism from all officers and staff and will take appropriate disciplinary action against anyone who fails to meet those standards."

E-fit released of sexual assault suspect

Police have released an e-fit image of a man they want to identify following a sexual assault on a schoolgirl in Leeds.

Police e-fit of sexual assault suspect

The 16-year-old victim was walking alone in Station Place, Bramley, on the morning of Friday May 16, when the suspect grabbed her by the arm and began trying to undo his trousers.

She managed to break free and ran off.

The man was described as white, aged about 30, 5ft 8ins tall and chubby. He was said to have a chubby face and stubbly beard and was wearing sunglasses, a black t-shirt and beige chino trousers.

PC Sophie Barritt said: "I would like to hear from anyone who thinks they know the identity of the suspect or who may have seen a man matching his description in the area around the time of the incident."

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Police appeal for witnesses after assault

Police have issued images of men they would like to speak to in connection with an assault in Batley.

Do you recognise this man?

Dewsbury CID would like to speak to anyone who recognises the men who they would like to speak to in connection with an assault in a 26-year-old man at about 2am on Monday June 2.

Do you recognise this man?

The victim left the Audio nightclub in Bradford Road, Batley. He was followed by three people. He was assaulted near the Batley Barless Fire Co.

The 26-year-old needed hospital treatment after suffering a serious injury to his chest.

Former WPC who advised Happy Valley's Sarah

Fans of the Yorkshire-based TV drama Happy Valley, which ended last week, have been gripped by Sarah Lancashire's performance as a gritty police officer with a heart of gold.

The programme, based around Sowerby Bridge and written by the acclaimed Yorkshire writer Sally Wainwright, has been praised for its realism and Sarah Lancashire's performance has already been tipped for a BAFTA.

Tonight Christine and Duncan met Lisa Farrand, the former West Yorkshire WPC who spent several months with Sarah and the production team.

Lisa from Huddersfield is one of the few officers of her rank to have been awarded the Queens Police medal. Her role as Policing Advisor on Happy Valley was to help Sarah Lancashire and to portray policeing as accurately as possible.

"Significant failings" by West Yorkshire Police

An investigation by a police watchdog has found "significant failings" in the way West Yorkshire's force handles discrimination complaints.

It is one of three forces studied by the IPCC. Of 170 complaints from the public only 94 were investigated and none were upheld.

West Yorkshire Police reject claims they don't have a good understanding of the communities they serve, but admit some improvements could be made:

West Yorks Police vow to improve complaints handling

West Yorkshire Police logo Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Three police forces, including West Yorkshire Police, have been criticised by the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, for "poor" handling of discrimination complaints.

Here is the response from West Yorkshire Police's Deputy Chief Constable Dee Collins:

“What matters most to us, is that people who complain have the confidence to contact us, knowing we will deal with matters fairly and professionally.

“While we accept there are always areas for improvement and we really welcome the independent scrutiny of bodies like the IPCC, our current complaints system is undergoing significant improvement incorporating previous observations from the Crawford report as well as other feedback.

“We are very disappointed with the suggestion that we are “failing at every stage”, however we recognise there are some improvements to be made and we are well advanced with that work, significant changes having taken place since the time this data was collected.

“Furthermore, we refute the report’s assertion that we “do not have a good understanding of the communities (we) serve.” It is not our experience, or what we hear from the communities where our Neighbourhood Policing Teams are firmly embedded and have an excellent relationship.

“West Yorkshire Police officers and staff have contact with thousands of people every day, often in distressing and difficult situations.

"The vast majority of those instances not only pass without complaint, but often result in positive comments and letters praising our people. Most of our employees joined to serve the public and are totally committed to upholding the high standards we expect to make communities safe and feel safer.

“However, we understand there will be exceptions and want to assure individuals and communities that any allegation will be treated seriously and thoroughly investigated.

"Changes last year led to our Professional Standards Department being strengthened and staffed by highly experienced investigators, together with the establishment of a Complaints and Strategy Unit, to address a number of the issues that have been raised within the IPCC report.

“We have to have the best systems possible, where both the complainant and the officer or staff member have the opportunity to explore and understand what has happened, and to deal with the matter appropriately.”

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West Yorkshire Police criticised for poor discrimination complaints handling

West Yorkshire Police logo Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Three police forces, including West Yorkshire Police, have been criticised by the police watchdog for "poor" handling of discrimination complaints.

The West Yorkshire, West Midlands and Greater Manchester forces were accused of "significant" failings in the way they dealt with allegations of discrimination, in an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report.

The IPCC said the criticisms applied in particular to discrimination complaints brought by members of the public, which it said were "poorly handled from beginning to end".

Too many complaints about discrimination from the public were resolved locally - without a formal investigation - when it was not appropriate to do so, the report found.

The quality of the local resolutions was also poorer than that of formal investigations, it added.

Of 170 complaints from the public - out of 202 complaints in total examined by the IPCC alleging discrimination - 94 were investigated and, of those, no discrimination allegations were upheld, it said.

Yet overall, the three forces upheld between 11% and 13% of complaint allegations from the public, the report stated.

By contrast, more than half of the 32 investigations into discrimination allegations studied by the watchdog which had been raised by the police themselves were upheld, the watchdog found .

Police release cctv in hunt for Castleford sex attacker

CCTV of man police believe could have vital information about sex assaults in Castleford Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Police investigating three sexual assaults against young girls in Castleford have released CCTV of a man they believe could hold vital information.

The footage was taken from outside a corner shop at the junction of Smawthorne Grove and Willow Road on Saturday, May 31at 5.36pm and shows a middle aged white male with short hair who was wearing light grey coloured trousers and a dark blue T-shirt.

Detective Inspector Mark Catney, from Wakefield District CID, said: "We know the two victims were at the corner shop around the same time and I believe this man may have seen the two children shortly before the assaults took place on Saturday evening.

"I would ask him to come forward as he may hold vital information which could assist the investigation. I would also ask anyone who recognises the man to contact police."

Around 90 minutes later two local girls aged 5 and 6 were sexually assaulted as they played on an area of wasteland at the back of Garden Street.

A second incident occurred the following day, Sunday , June 1, between 1.20pm - 3.20pm when two girls aged 6 and 7 were playing in a park off Barnes Road in Castleford. They were approached by an unknown male walking a dog who engaged them in conversation before assaulting the 6-year-old.

A 27-year-old man, who was arrested on Sunday evening, has been released on police bail.

The suspect is described as a white male aged 25 to 35 years of age with light coloured short hair.

DI Catney added: "The response we have received from local residents has been really encouraging and I would like to thank them for their support while the investigation continues to progress.

"In the meantime, specially trained officers are continuing to support the families of the victims and neighbourhood officers have increased patrols across the area and are visiting local schools to promote safety messages around children not talking to strangers."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Wakefield District CID via: 101 and quoting reference number 1101 from June 1st.

Police make almost fifty arrests during bank holiday crime crackdown

West Yorkshire Police made almost fifty arrests as part of Operation Viper 4 - a four day crackdown on crime.

Police made nearly 50 arrests

Forty-nine people were arrested in total as police across the county stepped up their efforts to counter crime over the bank holiday which usually sees a rise in offences.

In total over the four days of activity, 359 vehicles and 282 people were stopped with 32 vehicles seized, five stolen vehicles recovered and 49 people arrested.

Superintendent Pat Casserly, who led the operation, said:

“Our focused activity over the Bank Holiday weekend has resulted in a number of significant arrests; but Operation Viper is not just about getting people in custody but also preventing offences happening in the first place by putting the fear back on the criminals.

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