Acting South Yorkshire Police Chief: ‘We need to be more open’

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South Yorkshire Police’s temporary Chief Constable has said the force needs to be more open with the public.

Dave Jones, the chief constable of North Yorkshire Police, was drafted in to run crisis-hit South Yorkshire Police earlier this month.

Deputy Chief Constable Dawn Copley was initially the temporary replacement for suspended chief David Crompton – but she offered to stand down just 24 hours after taking the post after it emerged she was subject to a misconduct investigation.

Mr Jones said:“We need to be more open and transparent so the public can understand what changes are being made.

“The public want South Yorkshire Police to work well and effectively. After Hillsborough and Orgreave we need to find a way to do that without impacting on the day-to-day work of the force.”

He added he would be happy to support an independent inquiry into the events of the Battle of Orgreave.

He said in future more should be done to engage with the public – including those who are hard to reach.

Mr Jones said: “Sometimes I don’t think we’ve done enough.

“I want to set up an engagement plan so that we feel more part of the communities and look at what our neighbourhood policing looks like.

“We need to get out there and talk to the public so they can get a feel for what we do.”

Mr Jones said that part of his role at South Yorkshire Police would be to create a ‘strategy’ for the force before the new chief takes over.

He said: “I will provide them with a ‘route map’ so that they can be on the front foot when they arrive.

“I will try and give the new chief a summary of the force. I will need to say here is the good, the bad and the indifferent.

“It will mean that they can put South Yorkshire Police in a good place and the way will already be paved for them to do that.”

He also told The Star that bad feelings towards the police ‘were not aimed at officers’ – citing the case of PC Lisa Bates, who was ‘overwhelmed’ by the public’s support after she was severely injured in an axe attack while attending an incident in Gleadless Valley. She is now recovering at home.

Mr Jones said:“ Cops are the same the world over.

“Our officers are committed individuals trying to do a difficult job.

“The style of management needs to be corrigible. We need to listen our workforce.”

Mr Jones’ arrival follows the suspension on full pay of David Crompton over his handling of the Hillsborough inquest process and the force’s response to the unlawful killings verdict.

Mr Jones said: Hillsborough was a failure of leadership.

“The service collectively has to acknowledge that we got it wrong and we need to make sure we move on from this.”