‘Unfortunate timing’ of South Yorkshire Police chief’s retirement announcement

Chief Constable David Crompton
Chief Constable David Crompton

South Yorkshire Police’s boss today said his retirement was ‘unfortunate timing’ so close to a report into how the force handled child sexual exploitation.

News that Chief Constable David Crompton is due to retire in November emerged just hours after the publication of the Drew Report into the force’s handling of child sex exploitation in Rotherham.

The inquiry led by Professor John Drew repeated many of the criticisms levelled at police in a 2014 report, which revealed at least 1,400 children had been raped, trafficked and abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

But the report found the force were making ‘good progress’ in handling CSE cases.

Mr Crompton denied the report’s publication was his reason for retiring retire after 31 years in the police.

He said: “Last year I had served 30 years in policing and was able to retire but I felt leaving in the midst of significant challenges for the Force would not have been helpful and so I agreed to serve another year. I will have completed that year in November.

“In January, I agreed with the Police and Crime Commissioner that I would make an announcement about my retirement sometime prior to the PCC elections so that my position would be clear to whoever is successful at the election.

“It is unfortunate that the timing of this reaching the media meant it was linked, by some, to the publication of the Drew Review.

“In fact, the Drew Review is clear that South Yorkshire Police is making good progress in tackling child sexual exploitation, and this will remain a key priority for me for the next seven months.”

The chief’s four-year tenure has been plagued by a series of high profile problems, many of which began well before he joined the force in 2012.

As well as the Rotherham scandal, he has also had to deal with renewed controversy over the 1989 Hillsborough disaster where 96 Liverpool died. A report in 2012 ordered new inquests.

Mr Crompton also faced a fresh campaign for an inquiry into police practices following the ‘Battle of Orgreave’ during the 1984 miners’ strike.

The police chief also found himself in the headlines when Sir Cliff Richard’s home was searched in connection with an inquiry into alleged child abuse.

This controversy surrounded a deal his force struck with the BBC which led to live TV coverage of the raid. An independent report found it had ‘interfered’ with his privacy and may well have caused ‘distress’.

Figures published last year put Mr Crompton’s pay package at around £193,778.