South Yorkshire Police gone from 'worst force to top-tier', says Chief Constable

By David Parker | 27/09/2019

South Yorkshire Police gone from 'worst force to top-tier', says Chief Constable
Chief Constable Stephen Watson

SOUTH Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and has an outstanding ethical culture - but doesn't always respond to vulnerable people quickly enough, according to Government inspectors.

The force has been rated as good in all areas in the latest efficiency and effectiveness report  published today (Friday) by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) - three years after being placed in special measures.

HM Inspector Phil Gormley commended the force for the progress it had made over the last year.

He said: "I am very pleased with South Yorkshire Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. In particular, it is outstanding in how it maintains an ethical culture."

He said the force was good at keeping people safe and reducing crime, preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and investigating crime.

He added: "While the force has improved how well it protects vulnerable people, it still doesn’t always respond to them quickly enough. The force has improved some of its crime-recording processes but has more work to do.

"South Yorkshire Police understands the current and future demand for its services much better than it has done before. It has used this knowledge to develop strong financial and workforce plans."

It was rated as outstanding at developing and maintaining an ethical culture.

In 2016, the force was put into special measures by HMICFRS after being ordered to improve.

Chief Con Stephen Watson welcomed the latest inspection and said the turnaround was the latest milestone in the force's “ongoing upward trajectory”.

Mr Watson said: “The perseverance, commitment and passion demonstrated by police officers, staff and volunteers has paid off and developed a better service for the people of South Yorkshire. 

“We know we were in a difficult place a few years ago but that was then and this is now.

“We are now in the top-tier of forces across the country and that’s testament to the quality and commitment of our team.”

He said the force did not respond to vulnerable people quickly enough because there was not enough staff, but he hoped this would improve after the current recruitment drive.

Mr Watson said that by the force’s own analysis he believed they were the most-improved force in the country for the third-consecutive year but recognised it had a long way to go to improve its reputation in Rotherham.

“The reality is we can’t deny that the force has a legacy, and that legacy had an unpleasant flavour in Rotherham particularly,” he said.

“Those days are in the past but we must not forget the lessons we have learned.

“There’s no complacency here but it would be churlish not to point out that we have moved from being the worst force to the top-tier.

“We are determined to strive to continue to be an even better force because we want to go from good to generally outstanding.”

Police and crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: "To go from requires improvement to good in all areas inspected is an astonishing achievement in a relatively short period of time, not least because it has been done against a background of cuts.

"It points to hard work and dedication by officers and staff at every level of the organisation."


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