Kirklees police chief Julie Sykes is stepping down as the district’s top cop.

Chief Supt Sykes is retiring from the West Yorkshire force after a 28-year career.

Kirklees-born-and-bred Chief Supt Sykes is now looking forward to a life away from policing.

She said: “It has been a privilege to be the district commander of Kirklees Police since 2018, and to finish my career serving the very communities I was brought up in.

“The last three years have seen the district manage a number of significant criminal cases, many of which have ended up in the national spotlight.

“I’m pleased to say that we have made real progress on long standing issues such as gang and gun crime and child sexual offending, with many more prosecutions to come.

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“Of course, I am also very proud to have been involved in the long standing project to renew the police estate in Kirklees and to know that, as I leave, work is soon to start on a flagship new police HQ fit for 21st century policing.

“With the new Huddersfield station also at the planning stage, this feels like a significant achievement.”

Huddersfield Police Station

Chief Supt Sykes started her policing career in October 1993 and held roles in Kirklees as a detective constable, inspector and then a superintendent.

During this time, as an inspector, she was instrumental in introducing stop and search scrutiny panels into the force, allowing members of the public to provide oversight of stop and searches.

As a result of her wider work in criminal justice she also travelled to Hungary to spend time with the Hungarian police and prison service to engage staff on the benefits of public engagement and legitimacy.

She also served as a chief inspector in Leeds where she was the partnerships and neighbourhood policing lead for two years before becoming divisional crime manager and district safeguarding lead.

This period saw Chief Supt Sykes lead work to bring together child and adult safeguarding functions in the district and introduce bespoke work to tackle and address child sexual exploitation across the city.

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Chief Supt Sykes left Leeds in 2012 when she became a detective superintendent in the Counter Terrorism Unit as the regional Prevent lead across the seven North East police forces before moving back to Kirklees in 2013 as the superintendent for operational policing across the district.

She later became the head of West Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Directorate and worked with the National Police Chief’s Council during this time to develop a national policy for forces to use to investigate and take action in cases where officers were accused of abusing their position for sexual purposes.

Looking over her career, Chief Supt Sykes said: “Most of my time as a detective at different ranks has been spent in the safeguarding arena, an incredibly challenging but also rewarding area of work.

“From investigating crimes to developing local strategies, my drive and focus has always been to enable justice to be gained for vulnerable and exploited victims.

“As police officers our main role is to protect life and keep people safe, and I’m very proud to know I’ve been able to play a part in helping protect those who are most vulnerable.”