Greater Manchester’s police chief has no plans to apply for top job at The Met…yet


Greater Manchester Police’s chief constable says he has no plans to apply for the country’s top policing job following the resignation of Dame Cressida Dick.

Stephen Watson QPM plans to remain with GMP despite ‘speculation’ about who may take over as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.

Mr Watson – who took over as chief constable last May – says he is both “honored and privileged” to serve as chief constable.

And though he admits it would be ‘disingenuous’ to suggest he has no interest in the role at The Met, he says it would be “quite the wrong time” and “dishonourable” to seek to move on from GMP.

In a letter to officers and staff, the chief constable says he is focused on “getting back to policing basics” and throwing off “our recent travails”.

Citing recent progress, he says officers are dealing with calls “more expeditiously, recording crime more faithfully, arresting many more criminals and achieving a significant increase in positive outcomes for victims”.

With public confidence in policing under strain, Mr Watson says the force must be “even more determined to live up to what the public have a right to expect”.

“I remain both honored and privileged to serve you as Chief Constable”

In his letter, he warns that those “unwilling or incapable of keeping pace” with best practice will not survive and speaks of a “fierce resolve to weed out the unworthy”.

He writes: “I routinely obtain reports of the courage, determination and skill that are daily displayed by excellent people in difficult circumstances. I thank you all for your service and sacrifice.

“The future for GMP is positive and, on the basis of the quality of our people, continuous future improvement is assured.

“Our journey to the delivery of better policing to the people of Greater Manchester is now well underway; and I intend to see it through with you. I remain both honored and privileged to serve you as Chief Constable.”

The chief constable’s letter in full

dear colleagues

The recent resignation of Dame Cressida Dick as MPS Commissioner has given rise to speculation, within the media and elsewhere, as to whom might now succeed her in this most important of national policing roles. This speculation has included various references to my own potential candidature.

In recognizing that such can have an unsettling effect on an organization in transition, my aim in writing to you all now is to seek to nip this issue in the bud.

Whilst it would be disingenuous to suggest that I have no interest in this role, now it would be quite the wrong time to seek to move on from GMP. Indeed, I would consider it dishonorable at such an early and critical point in our shared journey.

It is therefore my firm intention to retain the position that I am privileged to hold as Chief Constable for Greater Manchester.

As is now commonly understood, we have developed a very clear plan which has been widely endorsed internally and has attracted the very valuable support of our key stakeholders from the Mayor and Deputy Mayor outward. Perhaps most importantly, the plan’s explicit focus on getting back to policing basics has also chimed with the public expectation of what they wish to see in a resurgent GMP.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson

We have assembled a highly capable and committed senior leadership team who share my determination to throw off our recent travails. The development of an effective performance management framework, the change program to reform our core operating model, targeted investments in mobile technology and additional police vehicles, and the reopening of custody offices comprise just a snapshot of recent initiatives designed to amplify our means of delivering the plan.

The fact that so many ‘green shoots’ have already emerged so rapidly and impressively is beyond dispute. We are dealing with calls more expeditiously, recording crime more faithfully, arresting many more criminals and achieving a significant increase in positive outcomes for victims. Our regular Operation Avro days are restoring, in the public eye, the longed for spectacle of a confident, proactive and professional force for good.

Whilst acknowledging that we have a considerable distance to travel, it is these ‘green shoots’ that are testament to the strength and professional resilience of our wider force. And these are also the symbols that most effectively serve to support my publicly stated assertions that the delivery of a GMP more fairly reflective of your abilities, professionalism and commitment to public service; is surely and definitively within our ready grasp.

That public confidence in policing is under strain must have a galvanizing effect upon us and make us even more determined to live up to what the public have a right to expect.

It has been my great privilege to personally brief over 1000 leaders these past few weeks and to acquaint them individually with a set of shared leadership objectives which reflect their part in delivering our plan. I have been greatly heartened, but not surprised, at their determination to ensure that every officer and staff member in GMP will honor the best in the British policing tradition.

As with so much that surrounds current controversies in policing, the answer does not lie in additional training. Rather the solution lies in more rigorously reasserting the fundamental tenants of professionalism, discipline, standards and values ​​to all circumstances and conduct.

Our focused leadership program will ensure that any member of the force not worthy of our calling will now, even more assuredly, be prevented from impeding our progress or in any way harming public confidence in GMP.

This fierce resolve to weed out the unworthy, is an essential symbol of the leadership support that I am determined to offer to the vast, vast majority of the force who do not deserve to be tarnished by the actions of a tiny minority who are unfit to wear the Queen’s uniform.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson

As we move forward together in delivering our shared ambition, those unwilling or incapable of keeping pace with the best of our people will simply not survive.

I routinely obtain reports of the courage, determination and skill that are daily displayed by excellent people in difficult circumstances.

I thank you all for your service and sacrifice. The future for GMP is positive and, on the basis of the quality of our people, continuous future improvement is assured. Our journey to the delivery of better policing to the people of Greater Manchester is now well under way; and I intend to see it through with you. I remain both honored and privileged to serve you as Chief Constable.

Stay safe, keep focused and enjoy the ride!

Yours faithfully

Stephen Watson Chief Constable




www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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