South Yorkshire Police

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South Yorkshire Police
MottoJustice with courage
Agency overview
Preceding agencies
Annual budget£251 million (2012–13)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictioncounty of South Yorkshire (i.e. the metropolitan districts of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield), England
England Police Forces (South Yorkshire).svg
Map of South Yorkshire Police's jurisdiction.
Size1,554 km²
Population1.28 million
Governing body Home Office
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersCarbrook House, 5 Carbrook Hall Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S9 2EH
Sworn members2710 (As of August 2013)
Unsworn members2218 (As of August 2013)
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executives
  • Stephen Watson, Chief Constable
  • Mark Roberts, Deputy Chief Constable
  • Tim Forber, Assistant Chief Constable
  • Lauren Poultney, Assistant Chief Constable
  • Dave Hartley, Assistant Chief Constable
  • Nigel Hiller, Director of Finance
Custody Suites3
Vehicle Fleets500 +

South Yorkshire Police (SYP) is the territorial police force responsible for policing South Yorkshire in England. The Chief Constable of the force since July 2016 is Stephen Watson.


Oversight of the force is conducted by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Billings, a former Anglican priest and Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council who was elected at a by-election on 30 October 2014, to replace Shaun Wright, the incumbent who resigned in the wake of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation controversy.

The force's roads policing unit and its helicopter, Sierra Yankee 99, have been a feature in three television series: Traffic Cops , Sky Cops and Police Interceptors . The helicopter unit was subsequently taken over by NPAS, and closed down. The aircraft was decommissioned and sold to another country along with the rest of the MD902 fleet from forces across the country

The force is best known for the unlawful killing of over 90 people in the Hillsborough Disaster [1] [2] and the systematic ignoring of child rape in the 2000's. [3] [4]

Police area

The police force covers an area of approximately 600 square miles (1,554 square kilometres) which is made up of the county's three boroughs (Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham) along with the City of Sheffield. The resident population is 1.2 million. In terms of officer numbers the force is the thirteenth largest of the forces of the United Kingdom. Conversely, it is the 7th smallest territorial police force in terms of geographic area of responsibility.

The force is divided into four basic command units (BCUs):

Force Headquarters is at Carbrook House, in Tinsley, Sheffield, following a move from Snig Hill Police Station in early 2013. This move saw the Senior Command Team and other services (such as firearms licensing) move into one location. This was funded by the sale of out-dated buildings, including West Bar Police Station, and the future sale of vacated properties. [5]

South Yorkshire Police traffic car South Yorkshire Police Traffic Car.jpg
South Yorkshire Police traffic car


The Chief Constable is Stephen Watson who replaced DCC Dawn Copley who stood down a day after assuming the post due to 'her conduct at a previous force being investigated'. [6] She had assumed the post after David Crompton was suspended regarding comments made about the Hillsborough disaster. [7] The Chief Constable is assisted by ACC Jo Byrne and Temporary ACC Rachel Barber. [7] Nigel Hiller is the Director of Finance.

The South Yorkshire Special Constabulary is headed by Chief Officer Stephen Merrett. He is assisted by Deputy Chief Officer Craig Batham.


South Yorkshire Police is governed by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. [8] The election took place on 15 November 2012, the same day as 40 other elections for the respective Police and Crime Commissioners (the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police having other elected officials acting as Commissioner). His deputy, Tracey Cheetham, was confirmed by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel in January 2013. [9] This is a salaried position, which is coming under scrutiny by local press. [10]

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner election, 2012 [11]
PartyCandidate1st round2nd round
 First round votes  Transfer votes 
TotalOf roundTransfersTotalOf round
Labour Shaun Wright 74,61551.35%
English Democrat David Allen22,60815.56%
Conservative Nigel Bonson21,07514.51%
UKIP Jonathan Arnott 16,77311.54%
Liberal Democrats Robert Teal10,2237.04%
Turnout 145,29414.53%
Rejected ballots
Total votes
Registered electors 1,000,015
Labour win

Before November 2012 police governance was undertaken by the South Yorkshire Police Authority, made up of elected councillors from the four metropolitan boroughs.


The force was formed in 1974, as a merger of the previous Sheffield and Rotherham Constabulary along with part of the West Yorkshire Constabulary area (which Barnsley Borough Police and Doncaster Borough Police had been merged into on 1 October 1968).

During the miners strike of 1984 officers from South Yorkshire attacked striking miners then arrested 95 on the charge of rioting. It was found the Police Force had fabricated evidence, carried out false arrest and assaulted miners. No police officer has ever been disciplined or accepted responsibility for their actions. [12] Ex officer Tony Munday has called for an inquiry into how South Yorkshire Police handled the aftermath of the Battle of Orgreave claiming he was told what to put in his statement "by a senior South Yorkshire detective" after he arrested a miner during the Orgreave confrontation. "I've never before or since, while I've been a police officer, been involved where effectively chunks of a statement were dictated. They weren't my words," [13]

The force was condemned by Prime Minister David Cameron in September 2012 for their dishonesty and gross negligence in their handling of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, which led to an apology from the then Chief Constable David Crompton. [14] The Hillsborough Independent Panel had exposed the way in which the force had attempted to divert blame from their own mishandling of the tragedy by feeding false information to the media and altering statements given by their own officers. In June 2013, UK newspaper The Guardian reported on emails sent by Crompton in which he had suggested that the families of fans killed at the Hillsborough disaster had been untruthful. In one, Crompton had written: "One thing is certain – the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version … in fact their version of certain events has become 'the truth' even though it isn't!! I just have the feeling that the media 'machine' favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill." [15]

The force's judgement has been called into question over a number of incidents involving the sexual abuse of minors in Rotherham, where prosecutions were not undertaken. [16]

In July 2014 South Yorkshire Police came under scrutiny once again following a much criticized filmed raid on the home of Sir Cliff Richard. No charges resulted but South Yorkshire police agreed to pay Sir Cliff £400,000 to settle a claim he brought against the force.

On 27 April 2016, it was reported that the force's Chief Constable David Crompton was to be suspended following statements made by South Yorkshire Police after the verdict of the jury in the second Hillsborough disaster inquest. [17] He was temporarily replaced by Deputy Chief Constable Dawn Copley, but the following day it was announced that she herself would be stepping down "in the interests of the force and the workforce" after an investigation into her conduct whilst serving as Assistant Chief Constable at Greater Manchester Police was reported. [18]

On 10 May 2016 it was reported that two serving police officers, a pilot serving with the National Police Air Service and two retired police officers who crewed the South Yorkshire Police helicopter were to stand trial accused of misusing the camera on the SY Police helicopter to film people who were naked or having sex. Four of the men denied charges of misconduct in a public office and were due to stand trial at Sheffield Crown Court on 17 July 2017. A fifth man did not appear at the hearing. [19] [20] All of the men apart from the 5th were found not guilty of any offence by a jury. The 5th had previously admitted four charges of misconduct in a public office. [21]

In January 2020, the Independent Office for Police Conduct found that South Yorkshire Police had taken insufficient action to protect from harm a child, who had been sexually abused and exploited by Asian men for several years from 2003 onwards. An unnamed chief inspector had told the investigation that the force had been aware of similar abuse for 30 years but had ignored it for fear of increasing racial tensions. [22] [23]

Chief Constables

Chief Constables of South Yorkshire Police
Period of AppointmentName
1974–1979Sir Richard Barratt, CBE, QPM
1979–1983James Hilton Brownlow CBE QPM [24]
1983–1990 Peter Wright CBE [25]
1990–1998Richard Wells
1998–2004Mike Hedges
2004–2011 Meredydd Hughes CBE QPM
2011–2012Robert Dyson QPM (temporary) [26]
2012–2016David Crompton [27] [28]
2016–Stephen Watson

Roll of Honour

This table sorts names alphabetically by default. The Roll of Honour is a list of all sworn police officers who have died whilst on duty. The Roll of Honour is provided by the national police charity, the Police Roll of Honour Trust. [29]

NameRankOrganisationDateCause of death
Alfred Austwick Police Constable West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary1 August 1886 (aged 30)Shot and fatally wounded by a man he had warned about his conduct
William Beardshaw Police Constable Sheffield Borough Police23 July 1855 (aged 26)Struck on head by a stone during a street disturbance and died next day
Arthur Tyler Bull Special Constable Rotherham Borough Police2 October 1916 (aged 46)Collapsed of heart failure while on duty in the early hours
Archie Cornish Inspector Sheffield Police Fire Brigade18 February 1931 (aged 47)Burns sustained fighting a fire at a hospital in November 1930
Sandra Jane Edwards Woman Police Constable South Yorkshire Police10 May 1995 (aged 28)Traffic car crashed while pursuing a stolen car
Dave Fields Police Constable South Yorkshire Police25 December 2017 (aged 45)Traffic car crashed while responding to an incident
Samuel Pidd Gibson Police Constable Sheffield Borough Police24 February 1872 (aged 33)A fractured skull received during an arrest in a hostile crowd
Harold Grainger Police Constable South Yorkshire Police26 October 1974 (aged 35)Police vehicle accident while on prisoner escort to Paisley
Glen Howe Police Constable South Yorkshire Police24 October 2008 (aged 48)Police motorcycle accident attending an emergency in Sheffield
Matt Lannie Police Constable South Yorkshire Police21 April 2020 (aged 40)Police motorcycle accident in Sheffield while responding to a vehicle failing to stop
Thomas Andrew Jackson Police Constable South Yorkshire Police13 December 2003 (aged 46)Collapsed dispersing rival football crowds with his police dog
William Jackson Sergeant Sheffield City Police26 November 1914 (aged 41)Accidentally killed by a train while crossing the line on patrol at night
John William Kew Police Constable West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary11 July 1900 (aged 29)Fatally shot challenging two armed suspects who had threatened him
Harry Marriott Police Constable Sheffield City Police8 June 1961 (aged 31)Accidental collision with a van while on motorcycle patrol
Lot Moor Police Constable West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary16 June 1900 (aged 58)Found dead on his beat in the early morning believed from heart failure
Frank Hides Munks Police War Reserve Constable Sheffield City Police13 December 1940 (aged 52)Enemy air raid
John Pollard Chief Constable Rotherham Borough Police30 June 1888 (aged 41)Collapsed while running to the scene of a fire late at night
Edwin Pryor Police Constable Sheffield Borough Police8 April 1857Struck on head by a stone during a street disturbance and died next day
Rex Webster Robinson Sergeant Doncaster Borough Police9 December 1961 (aged 52)Collapsed while briefing traffic officers on shift changeover
Gina Corin Rutherford Woman Police Constable South Yorkshire Police7 February 1994 (aged 25)Drowned in a patrol car which left an icy road and crashed into a river
Barry Saunders Police Constable South Yorkshire Police24 November 1989 (aged 31)Fell through a roof while checking burgled factory premises
James Slee Police Constable Sheffield City PoliceSeptember 1940 (aged 30)Road accident on patrol in a police motorcycle combination
Kenneth SouthPolice ConstableSheffield City Police30 March 1960 (aged 25)Motorcycle accident after finishing an extended tour of duty
Frederick Parkes SpencerPolice FiremanSheffield Police Fire Brigade12 December 1940 (aged 36)Killed fighting a fire at the Empire Theatre after an enemy air raid
George William Watson Inspector West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary5 November 1953 (aged 48)Collapsed soon after leading a police funeral escort

See also

Related Research Articles

Hillsborough disaster Human crush during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final

The Hillsborough disaster was a fatal human crush during a football match at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, on 15 April 1989. It occurred during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in the two standing-only central pens in the Leppings Lane stand allocated to Liverpool supporters. Shortly before kick-off, in an attempt to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, the police match commander David Duckenfield ordered exit gate C opened, leading to an influx of even more supporters to the pens. This led to a crowding in the pens and the crush. With 96 fatalities and 766 injuries, it remains as of 2020 the worst disaster in British sporting history.

Battle of Orgreave

The Battle of Orgreave was a violent confrontation on 18 June 1984 between pickets and officers of the South Yorkshire Police (SYP) at a British Steel Corporation (BSC) coking plant at Orgreave, in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. It was a pivotal event in the 1984–85 UK miners' strike, and one of the most violent clashes in British industrial history. Journalist Alastair Stewart has characterised it as "a defining and ghastly moment" that "changed, forever, the conduct of industrial relations and how this country functions as an economy and as a democracy". Historian Tristram Hunt has described the confrontation as "almost medieval in its choreography ... at various stages a siege, a battle, a chase, a rout and, finally, a brutal example of legalised state violence". Most media reports at the time depicted it as "an act of self-defence by police who had come under attack", and there still exists a body of opinion that the police at Orgreave "were upholding the law in the face of intimidation from thousands of strikers".

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Meredydd John Hughes is a retired British police officer. He served as Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police from 1 September 2004 to 2011.

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Rotherham Town in South Yorkshire, England

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Sir Norman George Bettison, QPM is a British former police officer and the former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police. He resigned in October 2012 amidst controversy about his role in the Hillsborough disaster, in which he was involved in the implementation of a cover-up of police errors. He remained the subject of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation, and was charged on the 28 June 2017 with four counts of misconduct in public office. The case was dropped on 21 August 2018. Bettison's own book Hillsborough Untold (2016) contains his version of events.

Ken Jones (police officer)

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Shaun Wright is a British politician. He was the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner from 2012 to 2014. He was the first person to hold the post, to which he was elected as a Labour Party candidate on 15 November 2012. As he held a senior position in child services during the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, he faced continual calls to resign. This resulted in his resignation from the Labour Party on 28 August and from his post on 16 September 2014.

Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal

The Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal consisted of the organised child sexual abuse that occurred in the town of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Northern England from the late 1980s until the 2010s and the failure of local authorities to act on reports of the abuse throughout most of that period. Researcher Angie Heal, who was hired by local officials and warned them about child exploitation occurring between 2002 and 2007, has since described it as the "biggest child protection scandal in UK history". Evidence of the abuse was first noted in the early 1990s, when care home managers investigated reports that children in their care were being picked up by taxi drivers. From at least 2001, multiple reports passed names of alleged perpetrators, several from one family, to the police and Rotherham Council. The first group conviction took place in 2010, when five British-Pakistani men were convicted of sexual offences against girls aged 12–16. From January 2011 Andrew Norfolk of The Times pressed the issue, reporting in 2012 that the abuse in the town was widespread, and that the police and council had known about it for over ten years.

The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner is the police and crime commissioner of the South Yorkshire Police in South Yorkshire. The post was created on 21 November 2012, following an election held on 15 November 2012, and replaced the South Yorkshire Police Authority. The current South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner is Alan Billings of the Labour Party, who was elected in 2014 and again in 2016. The role was created in 2012 and the initial office holder was Shaun Wright, who resigned on 16 September 2014. The police and crime commissioner is required to produce a strategic South Yorkshire Police and Crime Plan, setting out the priorities for the South Yorkshire Police, and their work is scrutinised by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel.

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Dan Johnson is an English journalist and presenter, currently working as the North of England correspondent for BBC News.


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