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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Profile: Humberside police chief
Home Secretary David Blunkett has called for Humberside Police to suspend Chief Constable David Westwood - an officer with 36 years policing experience - following a catalogue of failings in the force.

Although many of the errors in Humberside's dealings with murderer Ian Huntley occurred before Mr Westwood was appointed chief constable, most of the pressure has been directed at him.

David Westwood, Humberside Police
David Westwood wants to personally apply the lessons learned

When asked at a press conference immediately after Huntley's conviction whether he should lose his job, Mr Westwood replied it was "not a matter for me".

But he came under intense scrutiny again during two days of questioning at the Bichard Inquiry.

He admitted he had been wrong to argue that his force had erased files on Huntley in an effort to comply with the Data Protection Act.

While giving evidence he said: "I could try to justify why I made a mistake. I do not intend to try to justify why I made a mistake. It was my mistake and I made it."

Mr Westwood, who is married with four children, has always said he is best placed to apply the lessons of the Soham tragedy to the Humberside force.

Originally from South London, Mr Westwood has served with the Sussex, Avon and Somerset and Merseyside police forces as well as Humberside.

'Passionate commitment'

He joined Sussex Police in 1967 from a job as a trainee surveyor.

In 1981, he was awarded a Bramshill Scholarship through the Home Office, and studied as a mature student at Oxford University to gain an honours degree in jurisprudence.

He later studied in his own time for a doctorate, doing research into the difficulties young disadvantaged people can face in the justice system.

After a stint as assistant chief constable of Merseyside between 1995 and 1997, he was made deputy chief constable of Humberside.

Mr Westwood, who lives in Hull, was appointed chief constable in March 1999.

He spent three years as Chairman of the ACPO Race and Community Relations Committee and was on the Home Secretary's working group to implement actions arising from the death of Stephen Lawrence.

The Queen's Police Medal was awarded to him in 2001 for his services to policing.

As he finished giving evidence to the Bichard Inquiry, he spoke of his "passionate commitment" to driving through all the changes that would result from the inquiry.

"I owe it to you and the Home Secretary and the parents of Holly and Jessica to do that," he said.

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