West Yorkshire Police was formed in 1974, when part of the West Yorkshire Constabulary (itself created in 1968, and covering a much larger area) was amalgamated with the Leeds City Police and Bradford City Police, under the Local Government Act 1972. The force was originally known as the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police. Some older signs around the Force area, such as the one in the reception of Millgarth Police Station in Leeds city centre read 'West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police'. The 'Metropolitan' from the police title was dropped in 1986 when the Metropolitan counties were abolished. Proposals made by the Home Secretary on 21 March 2006 would see the force merge with North Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Police and Humberside Police to form a strategic police force for the entire region. These plans are currently under review and not expected to take place in the foreseeable future.
On 12 December 2006, Sir Norman Bettison was announced as the new Chief Constable, replacing Colin Cramphorn and resigned from his post on 24 October 2012. He was replaced by Temporary Chief Constable John Parkinson until the appointment of Mark Gilmore as Chief Constable on 1 February 2013.
For operational purposes West Yorkshire Police is divided into five geographic divisions known within the force as ‘policing districts’. The change in nomenclature reflects that of April 2014 the alignment with council boundaries for policing districts and the reduction of divisions in Leeds (which had three) and Bradford (which had two) so that each policing district was conterminous with its respective local authority boundaries. Each district is made up of Partnership Working Areas (PWA) which consist of an Inspector and three teams of sergeants, police constables, special constables and PCSOs. The first single police commander of the Bradford district, Chief Superintendent Simon Atkin, was appointed in October 2013 as part of ongoing moves to merge the district’s two policing divisions, while Chief Superintendent Angela Williams was appointed in Calderdale.
The five existing divisions with their divisional identifiers and their divisional commander are as follows:
The force headquarters is situated on Laburnum Road to the north of Wakefield city centre along with the Learning and Development Centre and specialist operations facility at Carr Gate, Wakefield at Junction 41 of the M1 motorway.
The Sir Alec Jeffreys Building in the Calder Park Business Estate (at Junction 39 of the M1 motorway) houses the Yorkshire and The Humber Scientific Support Service and was opened in May 2012 by Sir Alec Jeffreys himself. West Yorkshire Police is the 'lead force' for scientific support and provides such services for North Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Police and Humberside Police.
The current estate of police stations and other buildings is changing with certain buildings closing and new buildings opening. As of 2014 there are three PFI projects completed and as a result of these new buildings a number of police stations have closed and been sold.
Wakefield District police headquarters is now located on Havertop Lane, Normanton. The total area is 11,500 metres squared and provides office accommodation as well as a 35-cell custody suite. As it's now operational, the following Police stations are in the process of being closed and/or sold.Wood Street Police Station, Wakefield.
Normanton Police Station, Normanton.
Castleford Police Station, Castleford
The new headquarters for the newly formed Leeds District is operational on Elland Road, Beeston, Leeds. The total area is 12,500 metres squared and provides office accommodation as well as a 40-cell custody suite. Now operational, the Leeds District HQ will replace the following stations:Millgarth Police Station, Leeds city centre.
Holbeck Police Station, Holbeck, Leeds.
The existing Operational Support facilities at Carr Gate, Wakefield have been expanded and new buildings constructed which has centralised specialist training for the force in one location. The new facility, which totals 20,000 metres squared includes the following:Training hub facility (reception, classrooms, 3 gyms, storage and offices etc.)
Public Order training facility (storage areas, breakout areas, large briefing room, classroom, training arena, etc.)
Driver training facility
Firearms training facility (100m and two 50m firing ranges, armoury, etc.)
Method of Entry area (approximately 400 metres squared)
Colin Cramphorn (September 2002 to November 2006)
Sir Norman Bettison (January 2007 to October 2012)
Mark Gilmore (April 2013 to August 2016)
Dee Collins (Appointed November 2016) [Temporary Chief Constable between June 2014 & November 2016]
Mark Burns-Williamson (November 2012 to present); first PCC
The most recent change to the divisional structure was the reduction from eight policing divisions to five policing districts. The table below shows the divisional structure from 2008 – 2014 (showing the last divisional commanders and stations at the point of cessation).
From the mid-1990s, there were seventeen geographical divisions within West Yorkshire Police; however from 2000 onwards the number of divisions decreased as the move towards aligning police divisions with local council wards was implemented.
The grid below outlines the mergers of the former divisions to the eight operational divisions which ceased in April 2014.The hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper (1975 to 1981)
Chapeltown riots (1975, 1981 and 1987)
Bradford riots (2001)
Harehills riot (2001)
Hunt for murderer David Bieber (2003)
The disappearance of Shannon Mathews (2008)
The murder of Jo Cox, MP (2016)
The Police Memorial Trust lists and commemorates all British police officers killed in the line of duty, and since its establishment in 1984 has erected over 38 memorials to some of those officers.
Since 1900 the following officers of West Yorkshire Police are listed by the Trust as having died during the course of their duties in attempting to prevent, stop or solve a criminal act:PC Mark Goodlad, 2011, (Assisting motorist on M1 when a HGV struck him and his marked police vehicle)
PC Conal Daood Hills, 2006 (fatally injured when his vehicle crashed during a police pursuit)
PC Sharon Beshenivsky, 2005 (shot dead attending a robbery)
PC Ian Nigel Broadhurst, 2003 (shot dead by David Bieber)
PC David Sykes, July 1986, struck by a lorry whilst on the hard shoulder of the M62 near Brighouse
Sgt John Richard Speed, 1984 (shot dead; posthumously awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct)
Sgt Michael Hawcroft, 1981 (stabbed; posthumously awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct)
Insp Barry John Taylor, 1970 (shot dead; posthumously awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct)
PC Charles John Skevington, 1955 (fatally injured when his vehicle crashed during a police pursuit)
DI Duncan Alexander Fraser and PC Arthur Gordon Jagger, 1951 (both shot dead attempting to arrest a suspected burglar)
Sgt Naylor Whitaker, 1949 (died from injuries sustained in an assault in 1940)
PC Duncan Alexander Fraser, 1946 (shot dead)
PC Arthur Joseph Webb, 1923 (died from injuries sustained in a violent assault in 1920)
PC Alfred Haddon Hudson, 1910 (fatally injured attending a disturbance)
PC Albert Smith, 1907 (died from an illness contracted after being assaulted during an arrest)