South Yorkshire Police has been assessed as ‘good’ at reducing crime and keeping the public safe following an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service.
The force has been rated the ‘most improved force’ in England and Wales for the third consecutive year now.
In 2016, the then newly appointed Chief Constable Stephen Watson announced: “South Yorkshire Police will be rated as ‘good’ in the next two years or I will sack myself.”
Now, following an inspection the force has been rated as ‘good’ across all measures, but also ‘outstanding’ in ethical and lawful behaviour.
Dr Billings said: “Three years ago, when I appointed the present Chief Constable, Stephen Watson, South Yorkshire Police were in a bad place. “The judgement of the inspectorate at that time was that the force was amongst the worst performing forces in the country and morale was low.
“This was not a reflection on the officers and staff who were people of great professionalism and integrity; but they lacked a clear focus and a resolute purpose. This is what they have been given and the results are now beginning to show.”
He added: “To go from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ in all areas inspected is an astonishing achievement in a relatively short period of time, not least because it has been done against a background of cuts. It points to hard work and dedication by officers and staff at every level of the organisation.
“Three years ago the Chief Constable told me that his ambition was to take the force from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘outstanding’. That no longer looks like an impossible dream.
“My job as Police and Crime Commissioner is to continue to set the force priorities – protecting vulnerable people, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour and treating people fairly - and to hold the force to account against those priorities, on behalf of the people of South Yorkshire. This report reassures me that real and substantial progress has been made and the force is now in a good place and heading in the right direction.
“It has set itself a high bar for the coming years.”