West Yorkshire ‘racism’ probe detective arrested over ‘misconduct in public office’

Det Ch Insp Elizabeth Belton was investigating the murder of Elsie Frost 50 year ago in Wakefield.
Det Ch Insp Elizabeth Belton was investigating the murder of Elsie Frost 50 year ago in Wakefield.

A senior West Yorkshire detective being investigated by her own force for allegedly making racist comments at a work Christmas party has been arrested and suspended from duty on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Detective Chief Inspector Liz Belton is one of three West Yorkshire Police officers arrested last month. She is currently on bail along with a female and Pc and a male Pc.

Ms Belton, one of the force’s most senior investigators, was also arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and computer misuse offences, West Yorkshire Police revealed today.

According to the force: “All three have been suspended from duty while enquiries continue.”

West Yorkshire Police confirmed the arrest just a week after it was revealed that Ms Belton had been placed on restricted duties after allegedly using racist language at a work Christmas party.

She was made the subject of a misconduct investigation by the force’s Professional Standards Department after an allegation was made that she used “inappropriate language”.

The alleged racist remarks are understood to have been made at a Christmas party held by the force’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team.

In West Yorkshire Police’s statement last week revealing that Ms Belton had been placed on restricted duties, no mention was made of the fact that she had since been suspended from duty as a result of her arrest.

The two investigations are not understood to be linked.

West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team is the unit responsible for investigating some of the region’s most high profile cases.

Prior to being suspended, Ms Belton was leading the new enquiry into the historic murder of Wakefield teenager Elsie Frost in 1965, as well as a probe into the murder of 27-year-old Nicholas Dean Williams, who was found murdered in his home in Stanley near Wakefield.

The incident is not the first time Ms Belton, the former head of North East Leeds CID, has been the subject of an internal investigation.

In 2012, an enquiry was launched after she and a colleague, Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, were confronted by one of their partners at a gym in Killingbeck police station in Leeds.

Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse and Ms Belton’s partner, Sergeant Chris Beddis, are understood to have been involved in a heated exchange during the incident. West Yorkshire Police said all three officers were off duty at the time.

The force said in a statement at that time: “We are aware of an incident involving two off-duty officers in a gym run by the local sports and social club in Killingbeck Police Station when they were confronted by one of the officers’ partners.

“The officers involved do not work together and what they do in their own time off duty is not a matter for the force unless it compromises our own high standards of professional behaviour.”