HIS more than thirty year police career in West Yorkshire has seen him become one of the most senior Asian officers in the country and lead the investigation into a notorious serial killer.
But on his last working day before retirement, Detective Chief Constable Jawaid Akhtar decided to keep it in the family as he went out on patrol in his home town of Huddersfield with his son and fellow policeman Mohsin.
Mr Akhtar, who retires officially at midnight tomorrow, took on the role as West Yorkshire Police’s second most senior officer in November but joined the force in 1982 as a university graduate.
In December 2011 the Pakistani-born officer was given the Queen’s Police Medal at Buckingham Palace in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for distinguished police service.
He led the murder investigation sparked by Stephen Griffiths, also known as the Crossbow Cannibal, who was jailed for life in 2011 for the “wicked and monstrous” murders of three women in Bradford.
Other high-profile cases include the probe by West Yorkshire Police into body parts and organs that are no longer under inquiry, as part of a national review.
Mr Akhtar, who has worked mainly on the western side of the county, is said to have risen “through the ranks to become one of the most senior currently serving BME (black and minority ethnic) officers in the country”.
Chief constable Mark Gilmore paid tribute to “the very significant and selfless contribution he has made to West Yorkshire Police, to our communities and to British policing for almost 32 years”.
He said: “He has been a cornerstone of this organisation and gave me, as Chief Constable, invaluable support after I took up post in early 2013.
“Jawaid has devoted his career to serving the communities of West Yorkshire and I am proud and privileged to have worked alongside him.
“His depth of knowledge, integrity, sound advice and ability to challenge issues in a positive and robust way have been a real asset to West Yorkshire Police and indeed the British police pervice.
“I would like to join with all colleagues in wishing Jawaid every success for his retirement. I know he will be greatly missed, not only by his chief officer team colleagues, but also, I suspect, across the organisation.”
On his final working day at West Yorkshire Police Mr Akhtar posed for pictures with his son Mohsin, 27, who joined the force in March, and walks the same town centre beat.
He said: “I am extremely proud to have served West Yorkshire’s communities for almost 32 years. The challenges and the way we police have changed vastly in that period, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.”
Mr Akhtar, who was born in Pakistan, arrived in the UK unable to speak English at the age of ten in 1967. He settled in Huddersfield, where he attended local schools and college before completing a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. The first posting after joining West Yorkshire Police in 1982 was to his home town of Huddersfield, but he served in other roles before taking his first divisional command at Halifax in 1998.
In 2004, the married father-of-two, who speaks fluent Punjabi and Urdu, was appointed as Assistant Chief Constable. He has since been made responsible for areas including counter terrorism, the homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) and serious and organised crime.
Crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “It is fantastic he was able to join his son Mohsin on patrol during his last working day where it all started for him in Huddersfield…clearly his legacy will live on.”
• JAWAID Akhtar was Gold Commander in the 2010 investigation into the murders of three sex workers by ‘Crossbow Cannibal’ Stephen Griffiths.
Griffiths was jailed after pleading guilty to the murders of Susan Rushworth, 43, Shelley Armitage, 31, and 36-year-old Suzanne Blamires. All three women had worked as prostitutes.The killer had been studying for a PhD in criminology at Bradford University with a thesis entitled Homicide in an Industrial City - Violence in Bradford 1847-1899.
His crimes were discovered after a caretaker saw footage of Miss Blamires’ murder as he reviewed CCTV footage from the block of flats where Griffiths lived.