Temporary South Yorkshire chief steps down from post - 24 hours after taking over

Dawn Copley
Dawn Copley
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The temporary South Yorkshire Police chief constable has stepped down from her post tonight - just 24 hours after being handed the role.

South Yorkshire Police has been plunged into further chaos tonight by the departure of Dawn Copley from the temporary chief constable role.

She was put in the post on Wednesday afternoon after David Crompton was suspended with immediate effect over his handling of the Hillsborough inquests and verdicts.

But it emerged today Ms Copley, who responsibilities at South Yorkshire Police included being part of the 'external enquiries team' involved with issues relating to Hillsborough, Orgreave and the child sexual exploitation scandal, had been the subject of a misconduct investigation related to her time at Greater Manchester Police.

Police commissioner Alan Billings - who appointed Ms Copley and was aware of the proceedings against her before she was appointed - said Deputy Chief Constable Dawn Copley had "offered to step back to her substantive role" while another candidate was sought.

He said this was due to her not wanting "any further negative publicity or criticism to be levelled at the force".

Greater Manchester Police said earlier today that Ms Copley has been under investigation following a ‘number of allegations’ against her. According to reports this involved a group of senior officers who were accused of "corrupt practice".

The force has said an independent investigation into the allegations has now concluded - but has not revealed the nature of the complaints or the findings of the investigation.

A GMP spokesperson said: “An independent investigation was undertaken by Kent Police following a number of allegations that were made by an individual.

“We have received a copy of the report and sent it to the complainant as requested. The individual now has 28 days to appeal the findings.

“It would be inappropriate for us to make further comment about the detail in the report.”

Ms Copley was promoted to Deputy Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police in September 2015, having previously worked in the North West of England.

Dr Billings said he had been made fully aware of the allegations when Mrs Copley was originally appointed as Deputy Chief Constable.

"As this matter has not yet been concluded I am unable to comment publicly on the allegations and the outcome but as soon as I am able, I will do so," he said.

"In the meantime Mrs Copley has my full support. However, Mrs Copley has made clear to me that she does not want any further negative publicity or criticism to be levelled at the force.

"In the interests of the force and the workforce she has therefore offered to step back to her substantive role to allow me to seek support from the College of Policing in identifying another Chief Officer from outside the force to act as Temporary Chief Constable until a recruitment process can take place."

He said she would stay in post for a short amount of time to deal with pressing matters, but this would be kept as short as possible.

"I am sorry that I cannot say anything more definite at this time but we have been working closely with national bodies about these issues and hope to make a further announcement in the coming days," he said.