Senior police officer refused to provide breath sample, court told

First published in News

A SENIOR police officer who was stopped for drink-driving in North Yorkshire has admitted failing to provide a breath specimen.

Detective Chief Superintendent David Knopwood, 48, of West Yorkshire Police, was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £1,000 today (May 20).

Harrogate Magistrates' Court heard that Knopwood failed a roadside breath test when he was stopped by officers from the North Yorkshire force on the evening of April 28.

But prosecutor Melanie Ibbotson said the detective refused to give the crucial evidential breath test when he was taken to a police station.

Knopwood, who has been a police officer for 24 years, is head of protective services (crime) at West Yorkshire Police - the division that is responsible for all major criminal investigations in the force.

Ms Ibbotson said the defendant was stopped after he was spotted driving extremely slowly on Stockwell Lane, Knaresborough, just after 11pm.

She said he told officers he had drunk two pints and then provided a roadside breath reading of 60 microgrammes per 100 millilitres. The legal limit is 35.

Ms Ibbotson said Knopwood was arrested and, once in custody, declined to provide the necessary evidential breath sample.

John Dye, defending, said his client had stopped at a pub near his home to unwind, as he often did at the end of the day.

He said Knopwood had a lot of responsibility at the force and, that day, he had "woken up very early, and hadn't eaten because he had been so busy".

He said Knopwood now faced a police disciplinary board and his "job is hanging in the balance".

Detective Chief Superintendent 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."

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