The Hull Daily Mail has dedicated two front pages to backing under-fire Humberside chief constable David Westwood.
Home secretary David Blunkett launched a High Court action on Monday seeking to remove Westwood, who was last week singled out for criticism by the Bichard report into the Soham schoolgirl murders of 2002.
In a front-page comment the same day, the Hull Daily Mail told Blunkett: “We have said all along that removing Mr Westwood would not serve any purpose. His personal qualities and his professional pride and experience make him the best man to correct the mistakes which allowed Ian Huntley to slip through the net.”
The Bichard report into the killing of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman revealed “systemic and corporate failings” in Humberside Police. And it said Westwood “must take personal responsibility” for the fact that Humberside Police failed to keep records of a series of sex-attack allegations made against Huntley.
But on Thursday the Hull daily splashed with a campaigning front page “Your Chief Constable Needs You”, in which it urged Humberside Police Authority not to sack Westwood. Assistant editor Paul Hartley said: “After the Bichard report, most papers blamed Westwood and made him a scapegoat.
“Humberside Police have made mistakes, but David Westwood has pledged to put them right.
“There is a huge amount of public support for his wider policing: he has been tremendous at tackling anti-social behaviour, cracking down on drug dealers and he has introduced community cop shops that have got police officers out in the community.
“These mistakes were in place before he took over and we think he’s the best person to correct them.”
Kevin Wells, the father of one of the murdered schoolgirls, told The Mail on Sunday that he did not think Westwood should resign.
By Dominic Ponsford