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New chief constable’s assurance to commuinities
The new West Yorkshire Chief Constable has pledged to the communities of Bradford that he will listen to and work with them to make a difference to their lives.
The appointment of Mark Gilmore to the top policing post was yesterday approved by the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel after members conducted an hour-long probing question-and-answer session with him about his approach to the job.
Shortly afterwards, in an exclusive interview with the Telegraph & Argus, Mr Gilmore – who will take over in April from Acting Chief Constable John Parkinson – declared: “I want to assure the people of Bradford I am going to be a listening and responsive Chief Constable.
“I genuinely care about them and what happens to them and their communities.
“I want to make sure my officers give of their very best to make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. I will be working very closely with them, supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner, to make that difference a reality.”
Mr Gilmore said the answer to many of the crime issues lay within the community.
He added: “Working closely with the community to gain its trust and confidence in order to provide information about who are behind those crimes will be a key priority.”
The post of Chief Constable became available after Sir Norman Bettison resigned amid allegations concerning his involvement in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.
Mr Gilmore, who is Deputy Chief Constable of Northumbria Police and was previously an Assistant Chief Constable in West Yorkshire, said integrity was an issue of public concern and would be a cornerstone of how he approached his leadership role.
“I am going to be working very hard, with the Police and Crime Commissioner and with officers, to ensure they understand that integrity is not negotiable. It is a fundamental pre-requisite of policing.”
During questioning by the panel, Mr Gilmore pledged to maintain and strengthen the policy of having bobbies on the beat.
Questioned by Bradford Council deputy leader Councillor Imran Hussain about policing of similar events to the English Defence League demonstration in Bradford, the new chief said if it was the right thing to do he would apply to the Home Secretary for a ban, though consideration would be given on a case-by-case basis.
After the appointment, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said he was delighted the panel had endorsed his decision.
“It was a difficult choice, given the standard of the candidates, but the right one. I am sure we will be working very closely to try and deliver the best police service we can for West Yorkshire.”
Coun Hussain said: “We asked some challenging questions and I was assured and pleased by some of his positive answers and positive intentions for the way forward for policing.
“He has given an assurance that frontline policing, and neighbourhood policing – the most important thing – is not affected in Bradford and will continue to be there and strengthened."