ONE of the candidates hoping to become South Yorkshire’s first police and crime commissioner has pledged to launch an independent review into how South Yorkshire Police can restore trust in the force.
Robert Teal, the Liberal Democrat candidate due to stand for election next month, said the force has experienced some of its ‘darkest days’ in recent weeks following the publication of an independent panel’s report into the Hillsborough Disaster and of confidential documents about the force’s response to the sexual exploitation of children over the last 10 years.
The report into the Hillsborough Disaster, in which 96 football fans died at a game at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium in April 1989, revealed a police cover-up to deflect blame from South Yorkshire Police.
And the publication of police paperwork about the grooming of children for sex in South Yorkshire led to accusations the force had not done enough to protect youngsters from gangs of men.
Mr Teal, a Barnsley businessman, said: “The last few weeks have undoubtedly been some of the darkest days in South Yorkshire Police force’s history.
“Derelictions of duty must be dealt with wherever they lie and those that have been let down deserve justice.
“In the wake of recent events, we also need to demonstrate to those local people who have lost confidence that our thoroughly decent rank and file police officers can be trusted to keep us safe.
“Therefore, if elected I would launch an independent review to make recommendations on restoring this vital bond of trust.
“It is clear senior members sitting on the Police Authority have failed in their duty.
“We need to ensure this can never be allowed to happen again.”
Mr Teal’s slight on police authority members could be aimed at Coun Shaun Wright, the Labour candidate up for election for the top policing job.
Coun Wright is the authority’s deputy chairman, a magistrate and Rotherham Council member for Rawmarsh.
The other candidate standing for election on Thursday, November 15, is Nigel Bonson, who is representing the Conservative Party.
Mr Bonson served with Greater Manchester Police for 30 years and is a member of the Parole Board which decides whether prisoners are safe to be released back into the community.
Mr Bonson said: “I deal with sex offenders, many of whom have targeted children, on an almost daily basis and I have to make tough decisions about their safe management.”