Kirklees has new top cop

KIRKLEES coppers have a new temporary boss.

Chief Supt Chris Hardern has been made acting divisional commander until April 4 while Kirklees divisional commander Chf Supt John Robins attends a strategic command course helping senior officers climb the management ladder.

Chief Supt Hardern has already put it a lot of groundwork getting to know his teams in North Kirklees.

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He is familiar with the area after being part of the team who searched for missing Dewsbury Moor schoolgirl Shannon Matthews in 2008.

During the three-week hunt, Chief Supt Hardern was responsible for the search officers and linking with other organisations to make sure the search was as thorough as it could be.

“I was really impressed with the way the officers interacted with the community to clear the ground,” he said.

“The Shannon investigation hurt the image of Dewsbury on a national basis so we need to move on from that and take the people of Dewsbury with us.

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“I have spent a lot of time in Dewsbury and understand the issues there.”

Although he’s only in the post for a few months, Chief Supt Hardern said he hoped to make a few “tweaks” to improve the way the police service was delivered, particularly in different communities.

He said: “We need to make sure the Neighbourhood Policing Teams are as effective as they can be on the ground.”

But with a 20 per cent funding cut hitting the country’s police force over the next four years, he knows it might not be easy.

For now though, with crime levels coming down, he said it was a matter of continuing the good work of the force to increase public confidence in the service.