Retired cop flies out to fight crime in Africa

Dean Henson and son Ashley.
Dean Henson and son Ashley.

A former detective has flown to the world’s newest country to help develop its police force.

Detective Superintendent Dean Henson, who retired from West Yorkshire Police earlier this month, has begun a new role as a community policing advisor for the United Nations in South Sudan.

The country had been torn by civil war for more than 50 years, before gaining independence from Sudan and being recognised as a country in 2011.

But four years on, the country is still divided with little police infrastructure.

Mr Henson has already spent a year-long placement in South Sudan.

He said: “It’s the world’s newest country, a place roughly the size of France with a population of eight to ten million people and yet it has just 30 miles of tarmac roads and no power stations.

“Of the ten states in the country, a number are in the hands of rebels supporting the former vice-president and the rest are in government control.

“My role will be developing community policing techniques with communities who are currently under the protection of the United Nations, as well as working with the South Sudan National Police service.”

Mr Henson joined West Yorkshire Police in 1987, inspired by his grandfather who had served in the West Riding Constabulary.

He ended his career at the start of the month on patrol in Wakefield, finishing his shift with an arrest - the same way he started his first day.

He was joined on patrol by son Ashley, 29, a building engineer who has now become a special constable in Wakefield.

During his 30 years with the force Mr Henson has served as a detective constable, sergeant and inspector.

In a role as crime manager, he organised drug bust operations in Leeds and Wakefield.

As he took up his new challenge in South Sudan, Mr Henson said: “I will always have very fond memories of my time in West Yorkshire Police.

“I was only thinking on my last day that while policies and procedures may change the core principles of policing always remain the same.

“People call the police because they are in strife and we should never forget that we are there to get there as quickly as we can and help them.”