Greater Manchester Police chief stands down after force placed under special measures

18 December 2020, 16:30 | Updated: 18 December 2020, 16:59

Greater Manchester chief constable Ian Hopkins confirmed he will resign with immediate effect
Greater Manchester chief constable Ian Hopkins confirmed he will resign with immediate effect. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The chief constable of Greater Manchester Police will stand down with immediate effect, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has announced.

On Thursday, the force was placed in special measures after a watchdog raised concerns over its failure to record more than 80,000 crimes in the space of a year.

A report issued by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) last week said it was left "deeply troubled" over how cases handled by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were closed without proper investigation.

They also said GMP's service to victims of crime was a "serious cause of concern".

In a statement, chief constable Ian Hopkins said the force needs to be led by someone who can "address the issues from stat to finish".

"These are challenging times for Greater Manchester Police. The force has a long-term strategic plan to address the issues raised by the HMIC and I believe this plan should be led by a Chief Constable who can oversee it from start to finish," he said.

The force was placed under special measures
The force was placed under special measures. Picture: PA

The statement continued: "Considering what is best for GMP and the communities we serve, and given my current ill health, I have decided to stand down from the post of Chief Constable with immediate effect.

"It has been an honour to serve the public for 32 years, nearly 13 of which as a Chief Officer in GMP. Throughout my career I have been committed to achieving the best outcomes for the people I serve. The decision to stand down is not one
I have taken lightly but I feel the time is right.

"I was due to retire in autumn 2021 and bringing that date forward assists in the timely recruitment of my successor.

"I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues and the many dedicated officers and staff I have had the privilege of working with throughout my service."

The HMICFRS report, published on Thursday, found that GMP failed to record an estimated 80,100 crimes reported to it between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 amounting to around 220 crimes a day.

A higher proportion of violent crime was not recorded, including domestic abuse and behavioural crimes such as harassment, stalking and coercive controlling behaviour.

Inspectors estimated that the force recorded 77.7% of reported crimes, a drop of 11.3% from 2018.

An HMICFRS spokesperson said: "The level of scrutiny on Greater Manchester Police has been raised and the force has been placed in the Engage stage of the HMICFRS monitoring process.

"This is due to the causes of concern raised in HMICFRS's recent reports which have highlighted the poor service the force provides to many victims of crime.

"In the Engage stage, a force is required to develop an improvement plan to address the specific causes of concern that have led to it being placed in the advanced phase of the monitoring process.

"The process is intended to provide support to the force from external organisations including the Home Office, College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs Council to assist in achieving the required improvements."

Last week, HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham said victims of crime were "too often being let down" by GMP.

Inspectors found the force wrongly and prematurely closed some investigations, some with vulnerable victims, a proportion being domestic abuse cases, where although a suspect was identified, the victim did not support or withdrawn support for police action.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: "I have agreed with the chief constable, Ian Hopkins, that he will stand down with immediate effect from his duties of chief constable of Greater Manchester Police."

He said Mr Hopkins had led the force during "one of the most difficult periods in its history" dealing with budget cuts and "complex threats" such as the Manchester Arena terror attack.

He said: "In other important areas, however, the organisation has not made the progress needed. It is an important principle of policing in this country that it is operationally independent from political interference.

"I do not run Greater Manchester Police on a day to day basis. Instead, it is my job to hold the Chief Constable to account, and by extension the force for the services provided to our residents.

"At times this essential task has been made too difficult by an overly defensive culture within GMP. This needs to change if GMP is to develop the open learning culture that will allow the failures identified by HMIC to be properly addressed.

"Improvements are now overdue. So both I and the deputy mayor, whilst paying tribute today to Ian's 12 years of service to Greater Manchester Police have concluded that now is the time for new leadership, and a new era in our police force."

Mr Burnham said deputy chief constable Ian Pilling will assume the operational duties of chief constable ahead of a full recruitment process.