The first single police commander of the Bradford district has been appointed as part of ongoing moves to merge the district’s two policing divisions.

Chief Superintendent Simon Atkin, born and bred in the Bradford area, has spoken of his pride at being selected by the Chief Constable to be the first Bradford District Police Commander.

It means that Chf Supt Atkin, who was already divisional commander at Bradford South Police, now takes charge of a combined patch that includes Airedale and North Bradford.

Meanwhile, police chief Angela Williams has left the Bradford district, as the merger takes effect.

Chief Superintendent Williams, who was divisional commander of Airedale and North Bradford, has begun work in a similar role covering Halifax and towns including Brighouse.

Joining her at Calderdale are other officers from the Bradford district, including Superintendent Owen West and Chief Inspector Steve Thomas, from Keighley, and Bradford South Neighbourhood Police Team Inspector Darren Minton, who has been appointed Detective Chief Inspector.

Chief Supt Simon Atkin, said: “The move to a single commander for the Bradford district will be a positive one for the communities which we serve. In an effort to maintain the number of police officers on the streets throughout Bradford district, West Yorkshire Police is moving towards a leaner management structure.

“Placing all policing within Bradford district under one police commander will allow me and colleagues to work more directly with the local authority and other key partners. This will lead to a better co-ordination of resources across the district to tackle and solve local priorities. The ongoing and future development of policing within the district is something that is important to everyone across all communities.

“Being born and bred in the district and having spent a significant part of my police career working in Shipley, Bingley, Keighley and Bradford I am delighted and extremely proud to have been selected by the Chief Constable to be the first Bradford District Police Commander. I will be looking to start a number of public engagement opportunities in the near future, to ensure that I can establish exactly what the public want from their local police.”

The merging of the two divisions is part of a restructuring of the West Yorkshire force to meet Government cuts of £64 million. It includes the closure of cells at Keighley station and the switching of detectives from Keighley to Trafalgar House in Bradford and to Javelin House station in Eccleshill.

Ned Liddemore, acting chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said the Chief Constable Mark Gilmore’s programme of change to address the cuts was ongoing.

Mr Liddemore, who served 25 years as a police officer in Bradford, said: “We are involved in the talks.

“It is a case of discussing the best way forward. We are involved in discussions at all divisions. There will be changes. Some will happen sooner than others. Angela has gone (from Airedale) and Simon is in place. I imagine one person is going to be twice as busy as two because there will be just as much work.

“It’s a problem for the officers on the street, it’s a problem for the command teams, it’s a problem for CID, it’s a problem for roads policing, and it’s a problem for the public.

“The public needs to know that changes are taking place. We are losing more officers than we are recruiting.”

Chief Superintendent Williams was unavailable for comment.