A DETECTIVE from Calderdale who has helped claw back nearly £1 million from criminals is being forced to leave because of Government spending cuts.
Detective Sergeant Bill Hargreaves has spent 19 years with West Yorkshire Police but is having to retire because of the massive savings ministers have ordered the force to make.
“I am disappointed that I’m being made to go but I fully understand the position that the force and the division has been put in,” he said.
The 60-year-old has been leading Calderdale Police’s Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) team since January 2009.
The team’s job is to make offenders pay back money they have made from crime and they have recovered just over £991,000 worth of assets in the last two years.
Divisional Commander for Calderdale Chief Superintendent Chris Hardern said: “In the current financial climate where the police are having to review every role and make savings, the savings are being made by police staff and officers who are coming to the end of their service and they are not being replaced.
“Earlier this year, the force said it was looking at about 300 enforced redundancies of police staff and by the end of the four year savings window we will probably be looking at about 500 fewer police officers.”
Det Sgt Hargreaves joined the force after working for a textile firm in Keighley. He knew from early on that he wanted to work in CID, and has worked on a number of high profile Calderdale cases including the find of a baby’s body in Barkisland five years ago.
With the POCA team, he has helped target offenders across the district to seize cash which is then ploughed into community groups such as Halifax Street Angels.
“Gone are the days when criminals committed a crime, do their sentence, and then come out of prison and live off the proceeds of that crime because now we’re taking that benefit away from them,” he said.
Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long said he has worked with Det Sgt Hargreaves in Calderdale and Bradford, and he has always been a “professional and well respected police officer”.
“I am confident that the knowledge and expertise he has amassed has been passed on to officers working on our POCA unit and that through the realignment of existing CID supervision structures, the team will continue to perform exceptionally well. I wish Bill all the very best for his retirement from the force.”