"Making sure people feel safe is a really important": New South Yorkshire chief constable speaks following her appointment

South Yorkshire Police today appointed its new Chief Constable, who has now spoken out about the immediate challenges she faces and what is in store for policing this summer.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 8:16 am

Deputy Chief Constable Lauren Poultney has been chosen as the replacement for Stephen Watson, who left to lead Greater Manchester Police.

Ms Poultney, who has been in the police force for 23 years, was previously serving as temporary chief following Stephen Watson’s departure on May 19.

Following her appointment, Chief Constable Poultney said: “I am really proud to have been appointed as chief.

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Chief Constable Lauren Poultney

"I have been here just over four years now and the work I’ve been involved with has been integral to changes made in that period of time and I feel really honoured to be able to take it forward to the next step.”

The new chief constable said that the most immediate challenge facing South Yorkshire Police as she begins her tenure will be the management of lockdown restrictions lifting.

She said: “There will be concerns around the night time economy and people coming back into the workplace. I think we will see a return to normality, but normality will be a bit different.

“The public have worked with the lockdown restrictions really well and it has been a challenging time for many people.

"As they lift we are expecting to see more people celebrating being able to see people. So we will see the night time economy return to being busy and we will need to police that properly, and in a way that means people can still have a good time.

“We have comprehensive plans in place for the summer with the Euros and we need to make sure we have our resources in the right place at the right time, expecially when there are England matches and other matches of local significance.

"We have new officers who are already with us and we will be making sure that we use these effectively over the Euros period.

"In the longer term we have got more new officers joining the force which is a really nice challenge to have. But we have to make sure we train them and give them the skills, equipment and experience to do their work properly. That is going to be really important.”

The appointment of PC Lauren Poultney to chief constable comes a few days after a stabbing in Sheffield City Centre, over which a man has been arrested for attempted murder.

Following the incident, readers have been in touch with The Star to express concerns over safety in the city centre.

Responding to these concerns, Chief Constable Poultney said: “Making sure people feel safe is a really important part of policing and we have been working really closely with our neighbourhood teams to understand people’s specific concerns.

"We have recently been awarded funds by the violence reduction fund in relation to burglary and areas where women and girls feel vulnerable. And we will be consulting with the public about areas where they feel there can be improvements.”