Ex-officer sues police after 25 years

A FORMER police officer who was wrongfully convicted of arson is suing his former employers and demanding to be reinstated – 25 years after he left the force.

Stuart Bower, now aged 60, left the West Yorkshire force in 1985 after he was convicted of arson on a boat he jointly owned with his father-in-law.

He spent three months in jail, with a further six months of his sentence suspended but was later cleared on appeal and won damages of 475,000.

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Now, 25 years after he left, Mr Bower is suing the force for 500,000 – 21 years of wages from May 1985 until March 2006, plus a full pension back-dated to March 2006.

Mr Bower has submitted an 87-page writ to the High Court for reinstatement to the force and further damages, claiming his resignation was "illegally obtained" following pressure from senior officers.

He also says he was "denied his lawful rights and privileges" to return to his job after clearing his name and was the "victim of a conspiracy".

In papers submitted to the court in London, Sir Norman Bettison, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, is named as the defendant.

Mr Bower is suing West Yorkshire Police for 21 years' wages from May 1985 until March 2006, plus a full index-linked pension backdated to March 2006.

He said: "It is impossible to put an exact figure on the amount claimed until such times as the court rules on what rank I could reasonably have expected to have obtained had it not been for a wrongful conviction."

He also claims he repeatedly asked West Yorkshire Police for an investigation into the case but was denied one for 10 years. When an inquiry did take place in 2004, he alleges the investigator "refused to follow any line of inquiry that would lead to a successful conclusion".

In his writ, he says: "My dispute with West Yorkshire Police has become a long ongoing saga.

This has grown out of all proportion. I am now entitled to expect the new Chief Constable (Sir Norman Bettison) to put matters right."

West Yorkshire Police declined to comment because of ongoing court proceedings.