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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
Blunkett's statement on Westwood
David Blunkett
The Home Secretary is threatening legal action against Humberside
The Home Secretary has said he will take legal action if Humberside Police Authority does not carry out his request to suspend the chief constable, David Westwood.

The authority had asked David Blunkett to reconsider his suspension request.

The full text of Mr Blunkett's response follows:

The decision announced in the House of Commons in my statement on Tuesday 22 June to require the Humberside Police Authority to suspend Chief Constable David Westwood pending their report back to me, was taken after considerable thought, advice, and discussion.

The decision was taken in the light of the powers in the 1996 Police Act, as amended in the 2002 Police Reform Act.

Following the receipt of Sir Michael's report a judgement had to be made after extensive deliberation, as to whether this was an occasion on which the powers should be used and whether suspension as part of the protocol agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities and the Chief Police Officers Staff Association should be invoked.

Having gone through the detailed process and having weighed the facts very carefully I decided that the enormity of the evidence provided in Sir Michael's report and in particular the issue of systemic and corporate responsibility, warranted the initiation of these powers.

I should emphasise that I have not required the police authority to sack Mr Westwood
David Blunkett

I have looked again at my decision in the light of the Police Authority's request this morning that I reconsider.

But in the absence of any new arguments, I have decided to maintain my decision and I now call upon the authority to comply with the law and suspend Mr Westwood.

If they do not, I will be taking the necessary legal steps at the earliest opportunity at the beginning of next week to require them to do so.

I should emphasise that I have not required the police authority to sack Mr Westwood.

I have initiated a process under a protocol which is fully agreed with the Association of Police Authorities.

Mr Westwood will have every opportunity to make representations in the course of this process.



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