Bradford and Airedale's new top cop has policing in his blood

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Chief Supt Simon Atkin Chief Supt Simon Atkin

Bradford and Airedale’s new top cop truly has policing in his blood and believes in no-nonsense action to protect decent people and punish wrong-doers.

As a schoolboy at St Joseph’s Primary School, Keighley, when Simon Atkin strolled into a sweet shop or nipped to the chippy, he would meet the firm but friendly gaze of his father Pc Tommy Atkin – the local bobby smiling out from a police poster.

And that same black and white poster now is framed and displayed in Chief Supt Atkin’s office at Bradford District’s Trafalgar House HQ.

“I was born in Keighley and for 30 years my dad was our local police constable – that poster was in every shop window inviting people to tell him anything of interest or concern,” said Mr Atkin, 48.

“Obviously I learned a lot from him and he was still a serving officer when both I and my sister started out as constables in the town.”

Mr Atkin moved up to sergeant, then to inspector still based at Keighley, learning every aspect of policing from the ground up.

“I like the whole Bradford District – but I do have special affection for Keighley, a lot of good memories.

“It’s my family town, I played rugby union for Keighley, went out at night around the town – it’s where I grew up,” said Mr Atkin, 6ft 3ins and built like a useful prop forward. The world of crime has changed since Mr Atkin finished at Holy Family school and later joined the West Yorkshire force 23 years ago.

“My dad was a custody officer for 20 years and never saw heroin in all that time,” he said. “Whereas now of course, it’s a regular as anything.

Drugs and dealing are very high on our priority list and all communities want us to tackle the problem,” said Mr Atkin, who is the first commander of a unified Bradford Division.

“That’s why we set up Operation Sabredale which has successfully led to dozens of prosecutions and confiscations of assets from significant dealers under the Proceeds of Crime Act.”

Mr Atkin says he is keen to ask the public for more help in the ongoing battle against drugs.

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