South Yorkshire's new Chief Constable confirmed – and this will be her first job

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South Yorkshire’s new Chief Constable has been confirmed today as Lauren Poultney.

She had been named as the preferred candidate by South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, after interviews, but the decision had to be approved by the county’s Police and Crime Panel, which met today.

Chief Constable Poultney joined South Yorkshire Police as an Assistant Chief Constable in 2017 after moving from Humberside Police and went on to become Deputy Chief Constable.

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She has been carrying out the role of Temporary Chief Constable since the departure of her predecessor, Stephen Watson, who is now at the helm at Greater Manchester Police.

Chief Constable Lauren PoultneyChief Constable Lauren Poultney
Chief Constable Lauren Poultney

A police officer for 23 years, Ms Poultney has undertaken both uniformed and detective roles in a range of areas, including neighbourhood policing, major crime and protecting vulnerable people during her career to date.

Nationally she has led on problem solving and demand reduction.

Dr Alan Billings said: “Lauren Poultney will be South Yorkshire’s first female Chief Constable and I am looking forward to working closely with her as the force continues to strive to become an outstanding force across all areas of its activity.

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“Since joining South Yorkshire Police Lauren has played a key role, alongside her colleagues in the Senior Command Team, in the force’s transformation from being rated by Her Majesty’s Inspectors as ‘requiring improvement’ to ‘good’ overall. It is now one of the top performing forces in the country.

“The task for the new Chief Constable will be different from the one faced by Chief Constable Stephen Watson in 2016, but no less challenging. It will be to maintain and improve on the progress made and take the force to the next level – as an outstanding force.

“One of her first jobs will be to establish a strong Senior Command Team that will gain and maintain the trust and confidence of the public, as well as partners and staff.

”I am quite confident that just as we made the right choice for Chief Constable in 2016, we have done the same in 2021 for the next phase of the force’s journey.”

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Ms Poultney said: “I am incredibly proud to be appointed as Chief Constable for South Yorkshire. I’ve been here now for four years and witnessed the pride and passion local people have for the area. I want to ensure we harness this and deliver the outstanding police service they desire.

“We are now well on our way to achieving this and I believe it is firmly within our grasp. We have an excellent experienced workforce and are soon to benefit from many new recruits over the next three years. This provides much opportunity and allows us to further our victim focus and problem solving approach.

“I know that I have large shoes to fill in taking up the post after Stephen Watson but I feel fortunate to have worked alongside him for some time. I remain firmly committed to the direction in which he was taking the force and excited to be able to drive this progress further.”

Ms Poultney is married and has one child.

She has been given a five-year contract until 2026.