Greater Manchester Police has a new leader tasked with turning the force around

  • Report by Granada Reports correspondent Rob Smith

Greater Manchester Police has a new leader, Stephen Watson who has been tasked with turning the force after it was placed in special measures.

Mr Watson is the current chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, with 28 years experience in policing.

As his appointment was confirmed in a meeting of the Greater Manchester Police, Crime and Fire Panel, he said he was 'acutely aware of the challenges' that face the force, but he was convinced that a 'new and brighter chapter is perfectly achievable.'

He has also served in Lancashire, Merseyside, Durham and the Metropolitan Police, where he was in charge of nine boroughs.

He led the South Yorkshire force since 2016 and had to deal with the fallout of the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal almost as soon as he arrived.

The failure of the police to help victims was ‘totally inexplicable and unforgivable’, he said.

  • The new Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Stephen Watson on his justice model

Ian Hopkins quit after the force was placed into special measures Credit: ITV Granada

Mr Watson succeeds Ian Hopkins, who was asked to resign last December after a damning inspectors report revealed GMP had failed to record 80,000 crimes.

Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Beverley Hughes said Mr Watson had a "proven record of improving police performance".

After serving in the Metropolitan Police, Mr Watson was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary in 2015 and moved to South Yorkshire Police the following year.