A police chief who took a ‘back to basics’ approach with the failing Greater Manchester Police force has helped the organisation out of special measures after 18 months at the helm.
Stephen Watson, regarded as an ‘old school’ chief who pitched himself as ‘anti-woke’ when he joined GMP, had blamed a ‘failure of senior leadership’ for its problems and promised a ‘dialled up muscularity’ in his approach to crime.
The force was moved into special measures in December 2020, but today the watchdog, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), said it had made sufficient improvements and no longer needed ‘enhanced’ monitoring.
Mr Watson took over in May 2021 after his predecessor, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins quit over the shortcomings.
The then-Chief Constable Mr Hopkins, who had held the top job since 2015, stepped down after Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham came under pressure to sack him as head of the 6,800-strong force.
Mr Watson said when he arrived at the force he found officers so demoralised they were failing to investigate crimes, the Times reports.
GMP, the country’s third-largest force, first entered special measures after a HMICFRS report revealed the force had failed to record 80,000 crimes.
Since Mr Watson’s takeover, 999 call answer times have been cut from an average of one minute 22 seconds to seven seconds, response times have been reduced and arrests have increased by 60 per cent.