South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, today announced that Stephen Watson is the 'preferred candidate' for the job, with the decision set to be rubber stamped by county's Police and Crime Panel later this month.
Dr Billings said there had been a 'challenging' assessment and interview process, which involved representatives from the National College of Policing, local authorities and the National Probation Service.
Mr Watson is currently Deputy Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary.
After starting his career with Lancashire Constabulary in 1988, Mr Watson joined Merseyside Police in December 2006 as Chief Superintendent and has since worked for the Metropolitan
Police where, as a district commander, he was in charge of 6,250 police officers and staff member.
He moved to Durham Constabulary 12 months ago.
Dr Billings said: “South Yorkshire Police is one of the most high profile forces in the country at the present time and I am confident that, subject to Police and Crime Panel approval, we
have selected a Chief Constable who will be able to lead the force through transformational change as we continue to restore trust and confidence with our public, partners and staff.
“We assessed and interviewed three high calibre candidates who all performed exceptionally well.
"Mr Watson impressed us all with his experience, energy, drive and leadership qualities and I am confident that we have selected an outstanding candidate who can take the force
forward, against a backdrop of continued budget pressures and scrutiny.
“Mr Watson has been an excellent Deputy Chief Constable for Durham Constabulary - a high performing force - where he has demonstrated strong and effective leadership and is very highly regarded. I congratulate him on his appointment and I look forward to working with him, and the rest of the senior leadership group, to deliver a long-term strategy for policing in South Yorkshire.”
Mr Watson said: “I am delighted to have been selected as the preferred candidate for Chief Constable and am looking forward to taking up the role later this year, subject to approval
from the Police and Crime Panel.
"I fully recognise the difficulties that the force has faced in recent times and I am committed to leading the organisation through times of change.”
The married father-of-two lists sailing, rugby union and travelling as his hobbies.