Greater Manchester chief constable quits after critical watchdog report

PA Reporters
·3-min read

The chief constable of Greater Manchester Police has resigned after the force was placed in special measures over its failure to record more than 80,000 crimes in the space of a year.

A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) last week said it was “deeply troubled” by how cases handled by GMP were closed without proper investigation.

The watchdog also said the service from England’s second largest police force to victims of crime was a “serious cause of concern”.

On Friday, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “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.

“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.”

Mr Hopkins has been chief constable of GMP since October 2015, leading a force of 6,866 officers.

Following the publication of the HMICFRS report, Mr Hopkins revealed he had decided to take a break from his role to recover from labyrinthitis – an inner ear infection which affects balance.

He explained in his resignation statement that he was due to retire next autumn and added that “bringing that date forward assists in the timely recruitment of my successor”.

Mr Hopkins went on: “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.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, told reporters he had “agreed” that Mr Hopkins should relinquish his post and it was time for new leadership.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham (Jacob King/PA)

He said: “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.”

He explained how GMP “responded, or didn’t respond sufficiently” to last week’s report meant it was “time to act”.

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

In a statement issued on Thursday night, HMICFRS said the force had been moved into the “Engage” stage of its monitoring process.

This requires GMP to develop an improvement plan to “address the specific causes of concern”.

The HMICFRS report 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.