Column: Team’s line-up is now complete

Chief constable Stephen Watson.
Chief constable Stephen Watson.
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I am delighted to bring news of a couple of key developments in terms of moving South Yorkshire Police forward.

Firstly, after a year of changes in the senior team, I have made the final two appointments that complete a new permanent line-up.

David Hartley, previously the Sheffield District Commander is our new Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) in charge of local policing, and Lauren Poultney has joined us from Humberside Police as ACC responsible for leading our organisational change programme.

They join Tim Forber, ACC leading on protective services and the new Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts, who were appointed last month.

I find myself nine months into the job as longest serving officer in the team. One of the advantages of this is that it provides the opportunity to look at everything with a fresh pair of eyes and I am genuinely excited at the positive changes we can bring to a great workforce.

As I have said before, you have some wonderful committed officers and staff in your communities and it is my job to ensure that we give them every opportunity to show that every day.

You may have heard that I am in the process of visiting local community meetings across the county in support of our commitment to consult the public on our new neighbourhood policing model. So far I have visited community meetings in Mexborough, Hexthorpe and Maltby.

As well as setting out the force’s current position and ambition for the future, we have been able to capture the views of those attending. Those views, including some critical comments which are not always easy to hear, have been given in a really positive and constructive fashion. They are useful in assisting us to design a neighbourhood model which meets the needs and experiences of communities whose protection and reassurance are of central importance to us. I have enjoyed the opening sessions and look forward to the remaining events:

Thursday, May 11, 6pm: Penistone Grammar School, Penistone

Wednesday, May 17, 6.30pm: Crime and Safety Group: Church of the Nazarene, Oxford Street, Barnsley

While I am keen to get Neighbourhood Policing structures up and running as soon as possible, it should not just be what we think is the right model, based on a set of criteria that we design. It is vital that we capture the thoughts of both the public and our partner agencies and that it is a style of community policing that you need and want.