Crime commissioner names new chief constable for West Yorkshire

The new chief constable of West Yorkshire Police has been announced by the county's police and crime commissioner.

Mark Burns-Williamson and Dee Collins

Dee Collins, who has held the role temporarily for more than two years, will now permanently hold the most senior role in Yorkshire’s biggest force.

Crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said her appointment was great news for the force and communities in West Yorkshire.

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“Having worked closely with Dee over the last couple of years I know how passionate she is about this job, about the wellbeing of police officers and staff and about keeping our communities safe and feeling safe,” he said.

The appointment is subject to formal confirmation by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel which next meets on Friday.

But Ms Collins is already focusing on the task ahead at a time when the force is receiving unprecedented levels of calls for service.

She said: “I am delighted and proud to have been appointed to lead West Yorkshire Police as its chief constable.

“My focus going forward will be on delivering our joint vision with the police and crime commissioner to ‘Keep Communities in West Yorkshire Safe and Feeling Safe’. Protecting the public, particularly the most vulnerable individuals, remains my number one priority.

“I firmly believe that the men and women who make up West Yorkshire Police are key to our continued success and one of my main aims is to ensure we develop and support our people to be the best they can be.

“I am also committed to building a Force that is diverse in representation and thinking. It is important as we move forward that we engage with our communities, that we are part of them and that together we can address concerns.”

In explaining the appointment, Mr Burns Williamson said Ms Collins had a great deal of experience and understanding as a former deputy constable with West Yorkshire and, more recently, temporary chief constable.

He said: “Prior to joining the police service here in West Yorkshire Dee was assistant chief constable in Derbyshire for seven years and while serving there was awarded the Queen’s Policing Medal for her contribution towards British Policing.

“I am also proud of her role as president of the British Association of Women in Policing (BAWP) and the commitment that she will bring to her role in West Yorkshire.”

The crime commissioner is soon due to publish the new Police and Crime Plan setting out priorities for the next five years.

A draft version of this report is another of the items on the agenda for Friday’s meeting.

The panel might also raise questions about a long-awaited report about the investigation into misconduct allegations against Ms Collins’ predecessor.

Mark Gilmore was suspended from his role as West Yorkshire Police’s chief constable in June 2014 amid an investigation into the allegedly corrupt award of police vehicle contracts in his native Northern Ireland.

Although he was told he had no criminal case to answer last April and the suspension was lifted, Mr Gilmore became the subject of a misconduct investigation by Lancashire Police and never returned to his post. He announced his retirement from the force in August.

The independent report on the second investigation was submitted to the crime commissioner in July but is yet to be made public, despite promises from Mr Burns-Williamson that this would happen.

He has previously said the delay is a result of the need to take legal advice on what can be safely published.