Go-ahead for Blunkett challenge over chief constable

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The Independent Online

The Home Secretary today was given the go-ahead to bring a High Court challenge over the continuing failure of a police authority to suspend embattled police chief David Westwood.

Government lawyers argue there is no lawful basis on which the Humberside Police Authority can continue to refuse to comply with David Blunkett's direction that Mr Westwood be removed from duty.

Sir Michael Bichard severely criticised the Humberside force in general and the Chief Constable personally after investigating how child killer Ian Huntley was able to get a job as a school caretaker in Soham, Cambridgeshire, despite having a string of sex allegations recorded against him when he lived in Lincolnshire.

Huntley went on to murder 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in August 2002.

This afternoon Mr Blunkett won permission from Mr Justice Stanley Burnton, sitting at the High Court in London, to seek judicial review of the police authority's continuing failure to carry out his suspension direction.

Earlier today, members of the police authority met once more and decided by a majority of 15 votes to two to adjourn the issue and make no decision on Mr Westwood's future pending the outcome of the legal challenge.