Elite police squad to be merged


The team of West Yorkshire detectives responsible for investigating murders and other major crimes are being merged with other units as part of money-saving plans.

West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team (HMET) will become part of the force’s larger Protective Services Crime Department, including the previously separate Crime and Operations teams.

The move - effective from April - will also see officers investigating organised crime brought into the newly-merged unit.

Bosses, who are trying to make up to £154 million in savings between 2010 and 2017, say the move will ensure greater co-ordination across the force and help staff become skilled in other areas of policing.

HMET, a specialist team of elite detectives, have been responsible for taking on investigations into all murders and other high-profile investigations since being formed around 2006.

Prior to that detectives were taken from a general pool for major investigations on a case-by-case basis.

Assistant chief constable Craig Guildford said: “By bringing the teams together there is opportunity to reduce some of the senior management and other overheads and also some of the administrative processes and therefore, we will be able to increase our capacity to deal with that broader range of offending with a leaner but even more effective resource.”

The merger is part of West Yorkshire Police’s programme of change scheme to balance the force’s books and transform the way it does business in the face of dramatic funding cuts.

It has already cut the number of policing divisions covering Leeds and Bradford from five to two and removed a number of management positions, as well as cutting the number of custody suites it uses from 10 to six.

Police and crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “I want to reassure people that these new developments are about effectively delivering the already nationally recognised quality of major crime investigations in West Yorkshire.”

Nick Smart of West Yorkshire’s Police Federation, representing rank and file officers, said HMET and organised crime detectives were concerned about being transferred to divisional CID units as part of the move.

But he added: “As long as the operational capacity is not impacted and front end delivery is not diminished we will support whatever is done, because we know the chief constable has to make savings.”