The Pickering siege of June 1991 was conducted in the full glare of the media spotlight. In what was the longest running siege of its type a local man with access to several firearms barricaded himself into his parent’s bungalow after an argument with his father. After a five-day stand-off the man eventually gave himself up to police.
Two officers shot
In 1992 NYP reorganised, moving from four to seven divisions but sadly it was destined to be another year of tragedy. In the early hours of Sunday 7 June, PC Sandy Kelly and SC Glenn Goodman made a routine stop on a car they had followed from Tadcaster on to the A64. As they checked out the two occupants, a gun was produced and both officers were shot and badly wounded. Sandy recovered from his injuries but Glenn died later that same day in the Operating Theatre at St James Hospital in Leeds. More than 1,000 mourners packed into Selby Abbey to pay their respects at his funeral.
The investigation into Glenn’s death was conducted on an international scale and resulted in the convictions of Michael O’Brien and Paul Patrick Magee. The operation was widely praised for its professionalism and attention to detail, particularly in the presentation of evidence and exhibits to the court at the Old Bailey.
PC badly injured
Tragedy struck again later in the year when, on 14 November, TC Ken Moss set off in pursuit of a stolen Vauxhall Astra on the A64 near Malton. The Astra hit a lorry which, in turn collided with the patrol car, leaving Ken badly injured and totally blind.
In 1993 an ingenious plan to overcome the continual problem of manpower shortages saw the introduction of cardboard policemen. As a deterrent to shoplifters, one of the new recruits went on duty at Morrisons in Ripon. He was stolen shortly after his shift began!
In May 1995 NYP dominated the front pages again in the aftermath of the Dunkeswick air crash. The Knight Air Services flight to Aberdeen from Leeds/Bradford airport encountered problems shortly after takeoff and crashed onto open ground killing all the occupants on board. The police recovery operation involved 400 staff over several days, assisted by the other emergency services, yet again putting us at the forefront of the national news agenda.
In the days following the air disaster, Family Liaison Officers were used for the first time and the incident became the catalyst for the development of NYP’s current FLO system.
By 1996 NYP had moved on to ASP batons, rigid handcuffs and were the first force to train and equip officers with CS spray.
First joint civil and military police station
NYP also claimed another first with the opening of the country’s only joint civil and military police station at Catterick Garrison.
Chief Constable David Kenworthy
Chief Constable Burke’s busy time in charge came to an end when he announced his retirement in 1998. He was replaced by David Kenworthy who launched the Major Boundary Review programme which ultimately led to the creation of the current organisational structure of Local Area Policing.The re-structuring resulted in the removal of the mounted police section, on economic grounds, with the horses sold to Dublin police.
In October, two schoolgirls from Leeds were washed away in Stainforth Beck near Settle. The incident attracted national media attention as search teams scoured the water and river banks in a desperate attempt to find them. One of the bodies was found two days later, however it was several weeks before the second body was recovered.
A1 overturned vehicle
Only a few weeks later in November, another major incident and another spell in the media glare for the force. Three people died when a car overturned on the A1 in North Yorkshire and a further three motorists were killed as they stopped to go to the aid of the stricken car. A lorry driver who was held responsible for the crash was jailed for six years.
The same month witnessed some of the worst flooding in the country for many years. Vast areas of Ryedale, York and Selby were under water prompting the force to commit to permanently staffing three flood centres with most officers working 12-hour shifts.
By then, NYP was also committed to leading Operation Packet, an investigation into letter bombs being distributed indiscriminately around the country which eventually involved 12 other forces. The letter bomber was later traced and detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.