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Chief Constable Steve Watson sworn in as GMP's new chief

Chief Constable Steve Watson has been sworn in as Greater Manchester Police's new chief constable.

Baroness Beverley Hughes Greater Manchester's Deputy Mayor, CC Steve Watson and Mayor Andy Burnham

Baroness Beverley Hughes Greater Manchester's Deputy Mayor, CC Steve Watson and Mayor Andy Burnham

Date - 26th March 2021
By - Chloe Livadeas
6 Comments 6 Comments}

Earlier this week it was announced that the South Yorkshire chief was the Mayor's preferred candidate to lead GMP, and today (26 March) the Police and Crime Panel backed his choice.

Speaking today at a Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Press Conference alongside CC Watson, Andy Burnham said “I am acutely aware of the challenges that currently face the force but I am convinced that a new and brighter chapter is perfectly achievable.

“Whilst much remains to be done, and rapid improvements must be made, there is also much to be proud of in what the force achieves every day.

“The energy and determination within GMP to realise the enormous latent potential of the force is palpable.”

He is replacing Ian Hopkins, who had held the top job at GMP since 2015 and resigned following a damning HMICFRS report at the end of last year. Mr Burnham today admitted he asked Mr Hopkins to step aside, and said “I decided it was time for new leadership in the force so I asked the former chief to step aside and bring in the new era that very much starts in earnest today.”

CC Watson, who is currently chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, said he would work to regain the confidence of his officers and staff. “Too many of them are fed up of life in GMP to the extent where too many of them given half the chance would transfer to other forces. That is something I am absolutely determined to stop,” he said.

“The approach that I will be taking will to be reinstate a sense of pride from many quarters predominantly from the improving performance of the force in satisfying the demands of the communities we serve.

“There’s something about winning that makes people feel good, so we’re going to drive towards that,” he added.

He went on to emphasise the importance of leadership, values, culture, and looking “smarter”.

Mr Burnham said governance and scrutiny by himself and the deputy Mayor, Baroness Beverley Hughes, was happening too often “behind closed doors”.

He said: “I think there is a need for more of that to be done in a public arena. So the commitment I make today, which I've agreed with the new Chief Constable is that the three of us will appear at least twice a year before elected representatives across Greater Manchester, where we can have an open an open session accountability session, perhaps more of the kind that is seen in London.

“And that is a commitment that we make today to in this new era committed to strengthening the accountability process.”

CC Watson will take up his £204,000-a-year, five-year appointment on May 24.

He first joined Lancashire Constabulary in 1988, has served as a chief superintendent with Merseyside Police, and in other senior roles with the Metropolitan Police, Durham Constabulary and SYP.

In 2019, Mr Watson was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) for distinguished service.

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David Jones - Mon, 29 March 2021

Welcome Steve Watson your proven skills will be put to good use in GMP