A new panel has been set up to try to restore the ‘dented’ reputation of South Yorkshire Police.
Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings has launched an ‘Independent Ethics Panel’ aimed at overseeing policing in South Yorkshire in a bid to increase trust in the county’s police force and confidence in the way officers carry out their duties.
The panel will challenge decision making in the force aimed at improving integrity and standards.
Commissioner Billings said the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham, the Hillsborough disaster and allegations about the behaviour of police officers at the Battle of Orgreave during the Miners’ Strike have had ‘a severe impact in the trust and the confidence’ that the public have in South Yorkshire Police.
“This is a big issue for us,” he said.
“South Yorkshire Police’s reputation has had a severe hammering over the last couple of years.”
Andrew Lockley, Chairman of the Independent Ethics Panel, said: “The police can only do their job with the approval of the public.
“In South Yorkshire we are living in the shadow of a series of events that have undermined that approval and getting that approval back again has to be the most important thing that can be achieved.
“There is a measurement of satisfaction and confidence and the figures show levels of satisfaction are going up but confidence is not, so there is a big job to be done and it will be a job that will take some time.”
He said the role of the new panel is to be a ‘critical friend’ to South Yorkshire Police, and its findings and recommendations may be made ‘publicly’.
“The launch of the Independent Ethics Panel makes an explicit and public commitment to transparent and ethical policing that will be subject to rigorous scrutiny,” he added.
“The promotion of ethical standards is paramount to ensure that we learn from the mistakes of the past.”