Chief Constable Stephen Watson Announced as Preferred Appointment for Greater Manchester Police

Chief Constable Stephen Watson has been named as the preferred candidate for Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. The appointment is subject to approval from the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel on Friday this week.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner appointed Chief Constable Watson in June 2016 following a turbulent few years for the force. In that time he has established a strong leadership team and has led the force through transformational change and has greatly improved trust and confidence with our public, partners and staff.

Speaking of the appointment, Dr Billings said: “One of the most important decisions a police and crime commissioner makes is to appoint a chief constable.

“When I appointed Stephen Watson to be Chief Constable of South Yorkshire in 2016 the force was not in a good place. The judgement of Her Majesty’s Inspectors was that the force ‘required improvement’ overall and was ‘inadequate’ in terms of its understanding of the demand on the service. This was no reflection on the men and women in the service, though morale was low; but it did signal the need for a clear sense of purpose and vision.

“I asked Chief Constable Watson to formulate that vision and offered him a five year contract, because we believed it would take that length of time to bring the force to where it is now – among the top four forces in the country.

“This successful journey was also made possible because the Chief Constable was able to assemble a strong leadership team which has been remarkably stable over these years.

“It is a great compliment to the quality of senior leadership in South Yorkshire Police that its Deputy Chief has now been appointed Chief Constable of Cheshire and its Chief will move to the bigger urban force of Greater Manchester where there is a job to be done that is as challenging as South Yorkshire was five years ago.

“It will be sometime yet before the Chief Constable takes up his new appointment, but I congratulate him on it and know that he will serve Greater Manchester with the same determination and purpose that he showed us.”

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner will be administering the process to recruit a new Chief Constable for South Yorkshire Police. We are determining the timescales for this at the moment, but no PCC-chaired interview panel will take place until after a successful Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) takes office following the PCC elections on 6 May.