Murder squad to be set up at Harrogate police station

Chief Constable Dave Jones and PCC Julia Mulligan. (S)
Chief Constable Dave Jones and PCC Julia Mulligan. (S)

Murder and manslaughter investigations for the whole of the county are to be carried out in Harrogate with the investment of a new major crime unit costing £300,000.

A dedicated team is to be set up at Harrogate Police Station from October to cover major investigations from rape to kidnap, missing people and cold-cases.

The idea is that with a dedicated team, North Yorkshire Police officers working on local cases will no longer be diverted from their own investigations when something major happens.

North Yorkshire Police’s new Chief Constable Dave Jones, who has an extensive detective background, has hailed the decision as a very significant move.

“The development of the Major Crime Unit (MCU) is a very positive step for the communities we serve,” he said.

“As a former head of crime myself, I can say with confidence that the unit will improve major crime investigation and support for the people we are here to help and protect.

“Importantly, the demands of major investigations on local Safer Neighbourhood and CID teams will be greatly reduced, meaning day-to-day policing will not be as adversely affected should a serious incident occur.”

Documents prepared by North Yorkshire Police say the MCU team will respond to incidents, investigate them and prepare cases for trial.

It will also work on cold-case review, looking at past investigations which remain unsolved.

Officers would be more skilled, the report said, as they would be exposed to a greater range of serious enquries.

A MCU would also provide a more effective response, it said, allowing officers to investigate quicker as they can be deployed sooner.

“North Yorkshire is a very safe place to live and the amount of serious and major crime it experiences is relatively low,” the report read.

“When they do occur they have a significant impact on police resources and the community.”

The investment follows the recent opening of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in York and a decision to establish a Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub and Central Referral Unit in the county.

Newly appointed Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Mason is leading the three developments, along with Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn.

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “We have a clear vision to ensure North Yorkshire continues to be one of the safest counties in England.

“The public has also made it very clear that they want me to do all I can to protect local policing during these austere times.

“This is why the enhanced Major Crime Unit is such good news – not only will it improve North Yorkshire Police’s ability to tackle serious crime, but it will also help prevent local police being pulled away on investigations.”