New Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police Confirmed

Lauren Poultney has been confirmed as the next Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings following approval of the appointment by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel at a meeting in Barnsley today (Friday 11 June 2021).

Ms Poultney was identified as the preferred candidate for the role of Chief Constable by Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner following a rigorous two-day assessment and interview process last month. The appointment was subject to a review and report by the Police and Crime Panel, which took place today (Friday 11 June) at The Civic in Barnsley.

Chief Constable Poultney joined the force as Assistant Chief Constable in 2017 from Humberside Police and went on to become Deputy Chief Constable in South Yorkshire. She has been carrying out the role of Temporary Chief Constable since the departure of her predecessor, Chief Constable Stephen Watson last month.

A police officer for 23 years, Ms Poultney has undertaken both uniformed and detective roles in a range of areas, including neighbourhood policing, major crime and protecting vulnerable people. Nationally she has led on Problem Solving and Demand Reduction and is the Chair of the College of Policing Guideline Committee on Problem Solving.

Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “Lauren Poultney will be South Yorkshire’s first female Chief Constable and I am looking forward to working closely with her as the force continues to strive to become an outstanding force across all areas of its activity.

“Since joining South Yorkshire Police Lauren has played a key role, alongside her colleagues in the Senior Command Team, in the force’s transformation from being rated by Her Majesty’s Inspectors as ‘requiring improvement’ to ‘good’ overall. It is now one of the top performing forces in the country.

“The task for the new Chief Constable will be different from the one faced by Chief Constable Stephen Watson in 2016, but no less challenging. It will be to maintain and improve on the progress made and take the force to the next level – as an outstanding force.

“One of her first jobs will be to establish a strong Senior Command Team that will gain and maintain the trust and confidence of the public, as well as partners and staff.

”I am quite confident that just as we made the right choice for Chief Constable in 2016, we have done the same in 2021 for the next phase of the force’s journey.”

Ms Poultney said: “I am incredibly proud to be appointed as Chief Constable for South Yorkshire. I’ve been here now for four years and witnessed the pride and passion local people have for the area. I want to ensure we harness this and deliver the outstanding police service they desire.

“We are now well on our way to achieving this and I believe it is firmly within our grasp. We have an excellent experienced workforce and are soon to benefit from many new recruits over the next three years. This provides much opportunity and allows us to further our victim focus and problem solving approach.

“I know that I have large shoes to fill in taking up the post after Stephen Watson but I feel fortunate to have worked alongside him for some time. I remain firmly committed to the direction in which he was taking the force and excited to be able to drive this progress further.”

Ms Poultney is married and has one child.

The Chief Constable will have a five-year contract until 2026.

The special meeting of the Police and Crime Panel was led by the new Chair, Cllr Ruskhsana Haleem and attended by panel members. Following their verbal endorsement the Panel are required to provide a written endorsement of the decision within three weeks of the meeting.