Adventurous bobbies leading neighbourhood policing in Halifax and Sowerby Bridge

Inspector Colin Skeath and Inspector Derrick Oldham
Inspector Colin Skeath and Inspector Derrick Oldham

IT is two adventurous bobbies who are taking the lead in neighbourhood policing in Halifax and Sowerby Bridge.

Inspector Derrick Oldham and Inspector Colin Skeath, who have been appointed heads of teams in the Calderdale division, have also both recently completed endurance-testing challenges.

Inspector Oldham, who has taken over as head of Halifax Central neighbourhood policing team, fulfilled a life-time ambition when he cycled 930 miles from Lands’ End to John O’Groats, raising more than £2,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.

He completed the challenge with friend Mick Campbell and brother Richard whose wife, Alex, suffers from MS.

The team cycled for over 14 days, only suffering from one puncture and one broken spoke during the challenge.

“The views were fantastic and I gained a real appreciation of the country we live in,” he said. “It was tiring, hard work but enjoyable.”

Inspector Oldham stated his career in 1988 with Thames Valley Police and transferred to West Yorkshire Police in 1995.

He was initially posted to Toller Lane in the Bradford division and then, in 2001, to Keighley. As an inspector, he worked in Millgarth, the UK Immigration Service and Leeds City and Holbeck division, covering patrol, operations, intelligence and neighbourhood policing roles.

He came to Calderdale in 2008 as Partnerships Inspector and has worked in the Upper Valley and Halifax Central neighbourhood policing teams previously.

“I want to continue preventing and detecting crime, protect the vulnerable and tackle anti-social behaviour,” he said.

“I will continue to do that by working with partners to improve the quality of life of people living in our local community.”

Meanwhile Inspector Skeath, who is now leading Halifax North and East neighbourhood policing team, and his wife, Katrina - a detective constable in Calderdale division - recently completed the Devizes to Westminster annual international canoe and kayak race - widely regarded as one of the world’s toughest endurance events.

The couple paddled non-stop throughout the day and night for 27 hours, placing them seventh in the mixed doubles class and ahead of a number of British Olympians who failed to complete the race.

The race covers 125 miles and includes 77 portages where crews have to get out and run with their boats around an obstacle such as a lock or low bridge.

“It was the hardest physical challenge we have ever undertaken but it hasn’t put us off,” said Inspector Skeath.

“We plan to take part in the race again next year and to complete it in less than 24 hours.”

Inspector Skeath began his career with West Yorkshire Police in 1990 at Leeds City and Holbeck. In 2004, he moved to North West Leeds on promotion and transferred to Calderdale two years later, working as a response and neighbourhood policing sergeant for the Halifax North and East team to which he has now returned.

“I have a passion for neighbourhood policing and providing policing that increases the quality of life for local people,” he said.

“I have worked successfully with partners and secured significant convictions of criminals and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders of known trouble-makers.”