Hero police chief who saved woman and child from gunman says his farewell

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A policeman who saved a family from a gunman and went on to be the most senior officer in Wakefield has announced his retirement.

Wakefield District Commander Chief Supt Paul Hepworth, has announced he is leaving the force this September – 29 years after becoming a patrol officer in 1990.

The chief superintendent said he was very sad to be leaving the force but looking forward to new challenges after a career spent policing across West Yorkshire.

He said: “I have been very proud to serve as a police officer for 30 years and my last three and a half years in Wakefield, finishing as District Commander, have been one of the highlights of my police career.

“It has been a really hard decision to retire as I love policing and the results we produce in keeping people safe and in taking criminals off our streets.”

Chief Supt Hepworth was awarded a national Police Bravery Award in 1996 for an incident in which he saved the lives of a woman and child who were being threatened by a gunman.

It took place after Paul and his partner positioned themselves in between the gunman and the car the victims were in to protect them.

The officers eventually fired their weapons, injuring the gunman who recovered and was jailed.

Paul attend a ceremony in London where he was presented with the award by then Prime Minister John Major.

He became superintendent at Wakefield District Police in 2016, and then the District Commander in October 2018.

He said: “It has been a privilege to work in policing across West Yorkshire and my focus has always been to try and make life better on a street level in communities.”

Merran McRae, chief executive of Wakefield Council, said: “Paul has been a great partner to work with, truly committed to all our efforts to make Wakefield successful.

“He has truly made a difference to the district – we will miss him in our partnership working and hope he enjoys his retirement.”