Wakefield police detective failed to provide breath specimen after pub visit

Det Chief Supt David Knopwood
Det Chief Supt David Knopwood

A high-ranking Wakefield police detective failed to provide a breath specimen after he was stopped making his way home from the pub.

Det Chief Supt David Knopwood is facing dismissal from West Yorkshire Police after pleading guilty to the offence when he appeared before a court yesterday (Tuesday).

Magistrates heard Knopwood, 49, was stopped by officers from North Yorkshire Police in Knaresborough, just after 11pm on Monday, April 28, when they noticed him driving “extremely slowly”.

A roadside breath test reading showed he was more then one-and-a-half-times the legal limit.

Melanie Ibbotson, prosecuting, said Knopwood complained of feeling unwell as he was taken to the police station.

She said: “Officers were of the opinion that Mr Knopwood was well enough to be taken into police custody and take the full breath test procedure. During the procedure he declined to provide the necessary evidential samples of breath and stated that he was unwell.”

Knopwood, of Park Lane, Knaresborough, was taken to hospital where he was quickly assessed and returned to custody without treatment.

John Dye, mitigating, said: “The conviction means the community...will, or may lose a dedicated, hard-working and talented public servant. A momentary lapse of judgement on April 28 is going to have a profound effect.”

Mr Dye said Knopwood, a married father-of-one, felt unwell as he had banged his head as he was getting into the police van.

He said Knopwood had been up early on the day of the offence and had not eaten all day because he had been so busy at work.

Mr Dye told the court Knopwood had called to a pub less than half a mile from his home to “unwind” and watched football.

He said: “He had given 24 years of service to his community. He has risen to the top echelons of West Yorkshire Police.

“This is genuinely a man who is remorseful and apologetic.”

Knopwood was banned from driving for 12 months. He was also fined £1,000 plus £180 costs.

Knopwood had been head of West Yorkshire Police’s protective services, formed when the force’s Crime Division and Homicide and Major Enquiry Team were merged, since November last year. The department investigates major offences. Magistrates heard he had been “handpicked” for his role by the chief constable.

He authored the Operation Newgreen report into West Yorkshire police officers’ relationship with Jimmy Savile.

Det Chief Supt Andy Brennan, Head of Professional Standards, said: “West Yorkshire Police expects the very highest standards of its officers and staff, both on and off duty. This case clearly demonstrates the serious consequences when someone falls below that standard. Following today’s hearing we will quickly move to conclude the disciplinary process.”