Secret meeting discusses fate of suspended SYP chief David Crompton

The future of David Crompton remains unclear
The future of David Crompton remains unclear
Have your say

Politicians have been discussing the future of suspended South Yorkshire Police chief constable David Crompton in a behind-closed-doors meeting this afternoon.

The meeting of the county's Police and Crime Panel took place at Rotherham Town Hall, with the councillors and independent members on the board due to provide a recommendation to crime commissioner Alan Billings on whether Mr Crompton should lose his job.

The chief constable was suspended on April 27 by Dr Billings - who will make the final decision on Mr Crompton's future - in the wake of the Hillsborough inquests.

Mr Crompton, who was due to retire this November, lost his job at the head of South Yorkshire Police after the inquest into the deaths of 96 football fans ruled that police conduct contributed to or caused the disaster.

Concerns about public trust and confidence in the under-fire force led to his suspension on April 27.

His replacement Stephen Watson has already been appointed on an interim basis - promising to reverse cuts to neighbourhood policing budgets made under Mr Crompton.

Prior to Friday afternoon's meetings, details were leaked to Channel 4 that the Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor, who is required to give his views on the situation as part of dismissal proceedings, has suggested Mr Crompton was unfairly dismissed and should be reinstated.

Dr Billings said today he would not be commenting on the recommendations of the panel until he has reached his final decision.

Dr Billings said: “I am very disappointed that information has been made available to Channel 4 during the legal process I have to follow.

“I am unable to comment further until the Police and Crime Panel has made its recommendation to me and I have made my decision and communicated it to all parties.

"Once I reach that point I will publish documents relevant to the process.“

In a report seen by Channel 4 News, Sir Tom said the decision to remove Mr Crompton was "conspicuously unfair, disproportionate and so unreasonable that I cannot understand how the PCC (police and crime commissioner) has reached this view".

The embattled former chief constable was criticised by the families of Hillsborough victims due to the stance taken by police lawyers during the two years of proceedings.

Following the ruling, Mr Crompton reiterated an apology for the tragedy and said he accepted the findings of the inquest.

The Chief Inspector said Mr Crompton's statement - in which he had said he was trying to put the behaviour of his force into "context" rather than justify it - was not an error of judgment, as had reportedly been suggested at the time.

According to Channel 4, Sir Tom said no-one who read the apology "could rationally have concluded that CC Crompton was refusing to accept the verdict of the jury or rescinding the full apology already made. He plainly was not."

His suspension followed a torrid four years at the helm of the force which saw the organisation criticised for a range of different controversies.

As well as the policing of the Hillsborough disaster and the events that followed the 1989 tragedy, the force has been at the centre of the scandal over child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, the controversy surrounding a search of Sir Cliff Richard's house and ongoing questions about the policing of the miners' strike.