SOUTH Yorkshire’s Chief Constable David Crompton has spoken of his ‘disappointment’ that historical issues - including the Hillsborough disaster - have overshadowed his force’s successes during his first year in charge.
Mr Crompton described his first 12 months in the post as ‘an absolute rollercoaster ride’.
The findings of an independent panel set up to review and publish all the files on the Hillsborough disaster held by organisations for the last 23 years was the first major issue he had to deal with, with revelations that police officer statements were altered to deflect blame for the tragedy away from the police and on to the fans.
He also had to deal with revelations that his force did not have a ‘grip’ on child grooming in Rotherham, with the publication of leaked police and council reports reporting a growing culture of men targeting vulnerable young girls to groom for sex.
Mr Crompton today said: “It has been the most challenging 12 months I have ever had in my police career but the headline-grabbing things have been from five, 10, 20 years ago and what I don’t want people to lose sight of is that despite all of that we have got the lowest crime rates in South Yorkshire for 25 years.
“Sheffield is still one of the safest big cities to come to and I take my hat off to everyone who has contributed to that.”
Mr Crompton said that despite his force facing a £45 million reduction in funding, resulting in job cuts, anti-social behaviour is at an all time low and the force has been able to invest in using ‘groundbreaking’ legislation to tackle organised crime.
He said there are few forces in the country to have used ‘gang injunctions’ as much as South Yorkshire Police in a bid to ‘make life more difficult’ for gang members.
* SOUTH Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright has backed Chief Constable David Crompton after he decided to publish details of officer dismissals online.
To make South Yorkshire Police ‘more transparent’, Mr Crompton had used his police force website to log the details of officers who have been sacked or who resign over disciplinary matters.
The website lists every sacking or resignation since 2009 – including that of one officer dismissed for shoplifting, and another who lost his job for assaulting his partner.
Mr Wright said: “I fully support the work of the Chief Constable in providing details of dismissals due to misconduct.
“Transparency is the key to ensuring residents of South Yorkshire have confidence in the police service.”
Chief Constable Crompton said: “I have consistently said we take integrity matters seriously.
“I want the public to be able to see that the vast majority of South Yorkshire Police officers act professionally and with integrity at all times.
“However, sometimes a small minority let us down, and the force does not shy away from taking decisive and robust action.”