New Calderdale police chief faces balancing act

Calderdale District Commander Chief Superintendent Dickie Whitehead
Calderdale District Commander Chief Superintendent Dickie Whitehead
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Calderdale’s new police chief admits he faces a battle to continue to keep communities safe against a backdrop of budget cuts.

Chief Superintendent Dickie Whitehead, who officially took over from Chf Supt Angela Williams as Calderdale’s District Commander on Monday said he wants to carry on the good work that is already being done but also look for ways in which the borough can be made even safer.

We have some very good ward officers doing some excellent work and in taking that forward we’re looking at how we can flex all of our resources across the district of Calderdale to meet and deal with threat, harm and risk wherever it might occur.

Chief Superintendent Dickie Whitehead, Calderdale District Commander

However, he admits that his job will be made harder by continuing austerity measures - but said the force as a whole was committed to “maintaining a visible footprint” and keeping “boots on the ground” where possible.

Chf Supt Whitehead, who said one of his first priorities is getting out and meeting key partners and community leaders, said: “I’m focussed on continuing the outstanding work of my predecessor and the partner agencies in order to deliver sustainable public protection through continuous improvement.

“We have some very good ward officers doing some excellent work and in taking that forward we’re looking at how we can flex all of our resources across the district of Calderdale to meet and deal with threat, harm and risk wherever it might occur.”

Chf Supt Whitehead said he was keen to engage with all sections of the community and believes that “crime prevention is better than the cure”.

Asked about the ongoing court case involving 25 men accused of child grooming in Calderdale and a potential public backlash to any verdict, Chief Supt Whitehead said: “We will be working closely with the partners to ensure whatever the outcome of that judicial process. Our response will be measured and balanced with an assurance that we will continue to investigate and - wherever evidence allows us to - prosecute offenders for any offences, including and in particularly those against, the most vulnerable in our community.”

Asked how his time as District Commander will be judged a success, Chf Supt Whitehead added: “For me the real success factor is our communities feeling safer and being safer.”

All you need to know about Chief Superintendent Dickie Whitehead

Chf Supt Whitehead was born in Bradford in 1965 and has three children and a long-term partner.

Age 16 he joined the Royal Navy and travelled to the Far East, America and Canada.

His police career started in 1989 when he became a constable in Bradford - where he progressed to Detective Chief Inspector.

In 2006 he became staff officer to Chief Constable Colin Cramphorn, before becoming Detective Superintendent in 2009.

In 2013 he was promoted to Chf Supt and became the leader of Viper, before becoming Commander of Protective Services Operation in May 2014.

On April 13, 2015 he took over as Divisional Commander for Calderdale.