Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the findings of the inspection of South Yorkshire Police, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, and has praised the force for the progress it has made.
“Three years ago, when I appointed the present Chief Constable, Stephen Watson, South Yorkshire police were in a bad place. The judgement of the inspectorate at that time was that the force was amongst the worst performing force in the country and morale was low.
“This was not a reflection on the officers and staff who were people of great professionalism and integrity; but they lacked a clear focus and a resolute purpose. This is what they have been given and the results are now beginning to show.
“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.
“It is also pleasing to see areas of ‘notable practice’ by the force – such as the development of a specialist investigator course in conjunction with Sheffield University – the first of its kind in the country – and a multi-agency domestic abuse meeting that ensures that children are safeguarded.
“Given some of the issues of the past, it is especially pleasing that the inspectorate has judged the force ‘outstanding’ at developing and maintaining an ethical culture. This is an area where I have sought to support the force by establishing an Independent Ethics Panel – one of the first in the country.
“Three years ago the Chief Constable told me that his ambition was to take the force from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘outstanding’. That no longer looks like an impossible dream.
“My job as Police and Crime Commissioner is to continue to set the force priorities – ‘Protecting Vulnerable People’, ‘Tackling Crime and Anti-social Behaviour’ and ‘Treating People Fairly’ – and to hold the force to account against those priorities, on behalf of the people of South Yorkshire. This report reassures me that real and substantial progress has been made and the force is now in a good place and heading in the right direction.
“It has set itself a high bar for the coming years.”