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Chief constable 'should not be sacked', says Mail

While many national newspapers are calling for the suspension of Humberside chief constable David Westwood, the Hull Daily Mail has given the police chief its full backing.

The local newspaper is currently campaigning to keep the chief constable in his job, following criticism of him in the Bichard Inquiry into the Soham murders.

The paper says he is the “best person for the job” of taking the force forward and correcting the errors identified by Sir Michael Bichard in his report.

The aftermath of the inquiry, and the Mail’s campaign, has dominated the paper’s front pages over the past few days, as it first called on Humberside Police Authority to support the chief constable – which it did – before turning its attention David Blunkett, who looks set to take legal action to force the suspension.

Assistant editor Paul Hartley said: “Our view is that he shouldn’t be sacked. The Bichard report did criticise Humberside police, but it also criticised the Home Office.

“David Westwood is an excellent chief constable who has the support of the vast majority of local people, and we believe he is the right person to take things forward.

“Over the weekend, the father of Holly Wells said it would be a travesty if David Westwood was to lose his job and we echo his views.

“We’ve had stacks of letters on this issue and the vast majority – at least 80 per cent – have been from readers who support the chief constable and say he shouldn’t be made a scapegoat and should be allowed to put right the mistakes that have been made.”

However, in contrast to the Mail’s campaign, another Humberside title, the Scunthorpe Telegraph, has called for the chief constable to go.

Editor Jon Grubb said: “It’s clear from the report that the chief constable and the police authority were given a number of warnings about record keeping and were given plenty of indication prior to Huntley to have dealt with it.

“Huntley aside, a general Government inspection ranked the Humberside force joint bottom out of 43 in England and Wales.

“It was not at the bottom when Mr Westwood joined, and so I think it is fair to say that it has declined under his leadership.”

  • The Bichard Inquiry report blamed the chief constable after his force’s failings allowed Ian Huntley to get a job as a school caretaker in the Cambridgeshire village of Soham – where he murdered 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman – despite a string of sex allegations against him.

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