A “dishonest and manipulative” West Yorkshire police inspector who was found with £700,000 of drugs at his home has been jailed for 26 years.
Keith Boots, 55, who was responsible for disposing of seized drugs for West Yorkshire Police, was described as a “disgrace to the uniform” as he was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court.
Boots, who conspired with his son Ashley Boots to steal the drugs from the force, was found with enough drugs to keep “a 1970s rock star, and his band, entertained for weeks”, including a large amount of cocaine in his washing machine.
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said he had never come across a case where the evidence was so overwhelming.
He said Keith and Ashley Boots, who was jailed for 24 years, stole the drugs in order to put them back on to the streets of West Yorkshire for their own financial gain. He said Keith Boots had been a “trusted” inspector.
Judge Marson said: “One of the consequences of a senior police officer turning to crime is it undermines confidence in the police service.”
He added: “It’s a betrayal of those decent, honest officers who work diligently in order to detect crime.”
The judge told Keith Boots: “Sadly, the only conclusion I can draw is your behaviour has been thoroughly dishonest and manipulative.
“You are a disgrace to the uniform you once wore.”
Speaking after the sentencing today at Leeds Crown Court, Detective Superintendent Simon Bottomley of West Yorkshire Police’s Professional Standards Department, said: “Keith Boots belongs in jail. He is a criminal who pretended to uphold the values expected of a police officer but in reality fell a very long way short of the high standards expected with the uniform.
“He is an embarrassment to Force employees who day in day out work tirelessly to keep the people of West Yorkshire safe.
“Boots’ colleagues were taking drugs off of the streets whilst he was looking to put them back out there.
“There is no excuse for what Boots did and he now has a very long time in prison to consider the consequences of his actions. He is no longer a police officer having been sacked from the Force on 24 March 2016.”
Boots used his privileged position as a police officer to steal drugs from the Force. As an Inspector he was in charge of the property stores and because of his position of trust installed the CCTV cameras guarding the stores.
Det Supt Bottomley added: “Boots’ criminality was exposed because of the integrity and actions of his colleagues. As with any criminal activity we will investigate. No one is above the law as Boots has found out to his cost.
“But any safeguards are by virtue reliant on the honesty and integrity of those running them. The vast vast majority of people who work for West Yorkshire Police are honest and operate with an extremely high degree of integrity. Boots was dishonest and lacked the high level of integrity expected of police officers.
“His actions are a stain on that hard work but he is very much in the minority.
“I would also like to thank everyone who gave evidence in this trial and helped with the investigation. It is always difficult to accept that someone in the Force could be capable of such criminal behaviour. Praise must also be given to the Crown Prosecution Service and prosecuting counsel - this was a trial that at times was complex but the evidence was clearly presented to the jury who then gave the guilty verdict.”