Column: Enthusiasm for journey ahead

Stephen Watson
Stephen Watson
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I begin my second article as the first ended, on the theme of moving the force forward or indeed as I referred to it, the task of “building a new South Yorkshire Police”.

As I have toured the force during my first six weeks I have encountered absolutely no resistance to change from colleagues.

Indeed, I found a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm for the journey ahead.

The starting point is to develop a strategic plan for the force. It is vital that we invest time and effort in this work as the plan will be the pre-cursor for the structural reform that the force requires – so we need to get it right.

If I continue the “building” analogy, then the strategic plan is the foundation upon which we build the force.

Foundations aren’t particularly interesting to talk about (a bit like strategic plans) but it is nevertheless essential that they are strong. Therefore, I am not only looking within the force, but also calling on experts from outside the organisation to help us. As this develops I will share with you how the work is going.

We have received a lot of interest about restoring a meaningful neighbourhood function within our policing model.

I passionately believe that we need to be part of the fabric of our communities and I know that many of you are keen to see this change as soon as possible.

That is our intention too, but we need to ensure that the model we put in place is sustainable and based on the very best information. This may take a little time, so please bear with us.

I would like to add a few words to the story covered by The Star a couple of weeks ago, regarding the actions of a South Yorkshire Police officer, while on holiday with his family on the Greek island of Kos.

PC Dan Radford, who works in Doncaster district, rescued a three-year-old boy in trouble in the hotel swimming pool. In doing so, Dan saved the child’s life.

It made me feel very proud and I would like to pay tribute to Dan for his courage and quick thinking.

You will have heard and read many negative things about South Yorkshire Police over the last couple of years but the countless examples of good work, which in many cases involve the same qualities displayed by Dan, often go unseen and unheard.

This story serves to further demonstrate to me the calibre of officers I have the privilege of leading, and I hope that it perhaps goes a little way to restore some of the pride in your police force that you may have lost in recent times.