- Praise for Chief Constable Stephen Watson’s leadership
- 22 months is fastest time to turn around a police force out of special measures
- GMP is a service the public can have confidence in, but more still to do
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has hailed Greater Manchester Police’s success in coming out of special measures today after only twenty-two months – the shortest time this has been achieved.
The Chief Inspector of His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service has outlined his assessment of the progress GMP has made in addressing the concerns raised by HMICFRS in 2020 and PEEL Report of March this year and confirmed that GMP has made improvements.
GMP went into special measures in December 2020 following significant concerns raised in HMICFRS’s Victim Service Assessment – in particular, that 80,000 crimes had gone unreported – which resulted in the Mayor asking Chief Constable Ian Hopkins to step down from his post.
The Mayor sought to restore public confidence in GMP by providing more funding through the police precept and appointing Stephen Watson who came with a track record of taking South Yorkshire Police Force out of special measures in three years and turning it into the top performing police force in the country. There was specific focus in transforming organisational culture and getting GMP back to the fundamentals of policing.
Mayor Andy Burnham said: “This is a good day for GMP – a day when officers and staff can have renewed confidence and pride in the badge.
“I want to thank the Chief Inspector, Andy Cooke, and HMICFRS for their support over the last two years to get us to this stage.
“Back in December 2020, when GMP was put in special measures, there was poor leadership and poor culture. This was not the result of the thousands of decent people working day in and day out; it was the leadership.
“The main cause of the change in GMP is the outstanding leadership of Chief Constable Stephen Watson who has presided over the quickest turnaround of a police force and it’s also the most improved police force in the country.
“I also made the decision to increase the police precept to fund vital improvements in GMP, afters years of central government cuts to their budgets, resulting in the loss 2000 GMP officers.
“GMP is a different police force today to what it was in 2020. The public in Greater Manchester should have confidence in GMP.”
Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester, Bev Hughes said of today’s news: “I want to thank and congratulate everyone in GMP for their determination in working together to make the improvements needed to be released from special measures and to become the service the public can have confidence in. This has been a massive team effort right across GMP and at every level.
“Under Chief Constable Stephen Watson’s leadership, GMP has seen significant improvements across the board, including to 999 answer times – one of the best in the country - improved attendance at Grade 2 incidents, arresting more criminals, more investigations resulting in charges, solving more burglaries and recording more crime than ever.
“At the same time, GMP has also continued to address difficult issues from the past by tackling historical child sexual exploitation through Operation Green Jacket in Manchester and Operation Sherwood in Oldham to bring perpetrators to justice. The Mayor and I are determined to improve the outcomes for victims which is why we have supported GMP with the necessary funding to set up a dedicated Force-wide CSE unit of over 100 officers.
“These achievements in a relatively short space of time show what can be done with the right leadership, the right strategic priorities and an inclusive organisational culture that puts victims first. It vindicates the difficult decision we took in changing the leadership of GMP.
This is an important milestone on the journey towards excellence and I will support the Chief Constable in making GMP one of the best police services in the country where it.”
The Mayor has also written to all GMP staff. He said:
“Today we have been informed by His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary that GMP is making marked and sustainable progress and has formally been released from ‘special measures’.
“This is a major milestone in the journey towards the Chief Constable’s vision of a new GMP and I wanted to thank you personally for your contribution to this important achievement.
“The Chief Inspector's decision will allow the people of Greater Manchester to have a renewed sense of confidence in their police force. However, I am sure we all recognise that we still have further to go. To that end, I wanted to assure you of the steps I will be taking to back you on the next stages of our improvement journey.
“Please be in no doubt of my full backing for ongoing efforts to improve IT as soon as practically possible. I will fully support the efforts of the team working to bring perpetrators of child sexual exploitation to justice and embrace all the findings of the Manchester Arena Inquiry when its Part 2 Report is published next week.
“Even though we live in difficult times, I will continue to do whatever I can to provide you with the necessary financial support to help you deliver on the Chief Constable’s Plan on a Page Programme.
“In conclusion, whilst accepting the findings of HMICFRS, I have always been clear that they represented failures of GMP leadership rather than of the thousands of good people working throughout this organisation. This is why I know that being in ‘special measures’ has been so difficult for you. However, it is a measure of your professionalism that you have continued to work hard through these challenges to bring us to the point we have reached today.
“For that, and for your dedication to our communities, we are truly grateful.”
Article Published: 28/10/2022 17:55 PM