South Yorkshire Police boss issues statement about new job as he prepares to leave

South Yorkshire’s Chief Constable has issued a statement today after it emerged that he has applied for another top policing job and looks set to leave.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 1:37 pm

Chf Con Stephen Watson has been chosen as the ‘preferred candidate’ for the position of Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police.

He has to meet a panel later this week and members will vote on whether to ratify the nomination.

He moved to South Yorkshire Police in 2016 when the reputation of the force was in the spotlight.

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Chief Constable Stephen Watson

It was dealing with the legacy of the Hillsborough disaster and the fall-out from the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham, with South Yorkshire Police said to have let victims down.

But over the last three years the force has been ranked as the most improved in the country.

Chf Con Watson said: “I am delighted to have been announced as the preferred candidate to take up the role of Chief Constable for Greater Manchester.

“I'm incredibly proud of all that South Yorkshire Police has achieved in recent years and believe this is very much testament to the talent, commitment and sheer hard work of officers, staff and volunteers across the force. We have been well supported by local communities, partner agencies and charities to ensure we reach our shared goal of delivering a police service, which protects and supports the communities it serves.

“The challenges that lay ahead for Greater Manchester Police reflect where we were as a force five years ago. South Yorkshire's progress provides inspiration and motivation to others of exactly what can be achieved.

"I'm delighted to take on the role of Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police but will be always have a deep affinity for South Yorkshire and remain proud of the transformation we achieved together as a community.

“South Yorkshire Police is now on a strong upward trajectory and I have every faith that the force will sustain the outstanding progress that has been made given the truly excellent people that make up the South Yorkshire Police of today.

South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said: “One of the most important decisions a Police and Crime Commissioner makes is to appoint a Chief Constable.

“When I appointed Stephen Watson in 2016 the force was not in a good place. The judgement of Her Majesty’s Inspectors was that the force ‘required improvement’ overall and was ‘inadequate’ in terms of its understanding of the demand on the service. This was no reflection on the men and women in the service, though morale was low; but it did signal the need for a clear sense of purpose and vision.

“I asked Chief Constable Watson to formulate that vision and offered him a five year contract, because we believed it would take that length of time to bring the force to where it is now – among the top four forces in the country.

“This successful journey was also made possible because the Chief Constable was able to assemble a strong leadership team which has been remarkably stable over these years.

“It will be sometime yet before the Chief Constable takes up his new appointment, but I congratulate him on it and know that he will serve Greater Manchester with the same determination and purpose that he showed us.”

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