Crisis-hit South Yorkshire Police appoint third chief constable in six days

Dave Jones is to take over at South Yorkshire Police
Dave Jones is to take over at South Yorkshire Police

The chief constable of North Yorkshire Police has been drafted in to run crisis-hit South Yorkshire Police on a temporary basis.

Dave Jones has assumed interim command of South Yorkshire Police following an agreement between South Yorkshire police commissioner Alan Billings and his North Yorkshire counterpart Julia Mulligan.

It comes as the force prepares to advertise for a new permanent chief constable, with Dr Billings hoping an appointment can be made by the summer.

Mr Jones’ arrival follows the suspension on full pay of David Crompton last week in regard to his handling of the Hillsborough inquest process and the force’s response to the unlawful killings verdict.

Dr Billings initially appointed Deputy Chief Constable Dawn Copley as his temporary replacement - but she offered to stand down just 24 hours after taking the post after it emerged she was subject to a misconduct investigation over allegations made against her during her time with her previous force in Greater Manchester.

Mr Jones told a press conference in Sheffield today he wants to restore trust and confidence to policing in South Yorkshire and will be speaking to local communities and rank-and-file officers - as well as families of the Hillsborough disaster victims - in the coming weeks.

He said improving South Yorkshire Police and how it is perceived will take time - while he will be overseeing a review of the force’s leadership and culture that will be carried out by a senior officer from another police service.

“It is not going to be a short journey,” he said.

“There is also a responsibility for central Government around the resourcing situation in South Yorkshire.

“We need to start to understand what it is we need to try and fix.”

He said: “I also think I also need to hear from the families of the Hillsborough disaster, the truth and justice committee for Orgreave and also the public of South Yorkshire about how they experience policing and what they think’s not working.

“But crucially, I also think that the workforce need to be able to get a voice into that review to make sure we fully understand, warts and all, what we think is actually happening in policing in 2016.

“It is just not South Yorkshire Police and I think that’s been recognised nationally and we do need a national response to that issue.”

Mr Jones, who has been chief constable in North Yorkshire since 2013, is meeting with the South Yorkshire Police’s senior leadership this afternoon and said he wants to ensure he also hears from frontline officers.

“There are men and women in South Yorkshire putting themselves in harm’s way making sure the public are being protected,” he said.

Dr Billings said: “I welcome Chief Constable Dave Jones and I am confident that he will be able to move the force forward to a position where trust and confidence in the force can begin to be restored.

“The last week has been very turbulent for South Yorkshire Police and I am well aware of the anguish felt by the communities of South Yorkshire and police officers and police staff at the present time.

“I will be working closely with the Force to establish stability as soon as possible.

“I want to give reassurance to all and make it clear that I have been working very hard alongside members of my office and colleagues in the Home Office, the College of Policing and HMIC to resolve these issues as a matter of urgency.”

“I am also very grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan, who has been extremely supportive and has offered the services of Chief Constable Jones to us during this very difficult period.”

North Yorkshire Police will be run by its Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick until a permanent chief constable is found in South Yorkshire.

Mr Jones’ salary will be paid by South Yorkshire Police while he is in post.