Chief with 36 years' service asks for second chance

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The Independent Online

As he finished giving evidence to the Bichard inquiry, David Westwood asked to be given a chance to make amends for the mistakes of Humberside Police

As he finished giving evidence to the Bichard inquiry, David Westwood asked to be given a chance to make amends for the mistakes of Humberside Police. He spoke of his "passionate commitment" to driving through the changes that would result from the inquiry, saying: "I owe it to you and the Home Secretary and the parents of Holly and Jessica to do that."

But it seems the man who was awarded a Queen's Police Medal for his services to policing in 2001 may not be given that chance. Mr Westwood has been in the police force for 36 years and Chief Constable of Humberside since March 1999.

He gained notoriety - and an apology from the BBC - after walking out of an interview about the Huntley affair with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight after the BBC admitted many of his answers were edited, making him look more evasive.

Originally from south London, Mr Westwood joined Sussex Police in 1967 from a job as a trainee surveyor. In 1981 he was awarded a Bramshill Scholarship through the Home Office, and studied as a mature student at Oxford University to gain an honours degree in jurisprudence.

He later studied for a doctorate, researching the difficulties young disadvantaged people can face in the justice system, and he served on the Home Secretary's working group formed after the death of Stephen Lawrence. He also served in the Avon and Somerset and Merseyside forces before being appointed Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside from 1995 to 1997.

Mr Westwood, who lives in Hull and is married with four children, was made Deputy Chief Constable of Humberside in 1997 before becoming Chief Constable.

Last week Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary named Humberside Police as one of the five worst-performing forces in the country.