Greater Manchester Police’s top cop quits with force put into special measures

Greater Manchester Police’s top cop has quit citing poor health after the force was placed under special measures.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins has stepped down with immediate effect.

The force was the subject of a scathing report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate last week, and the Manchester Evening News revealed yesterday how it was subsequently placed in special measures.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham confirmed the resignation in a press conference on Friday afternoon.

The leader said the damning report – which highlighted failings in the force’s crime recording and services to vulnerable people – revealed an “unacceptable lack of progress”.

The mayor told the press conference: “This latest report, carried out in September, and based of force data between April and June this year revealed a unacceptable lack of progress.”

He said victims had been apologised to, a ‘series of actions’ have been put in force, and the report has been accepted in full – to “restore public confidence.”

But there had been an at times “overly defensive culture” at GMP, Mr Burnham added.

“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 said.

Mr Hopkins’ full statement 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.

“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.”

Only one other force – Cleveland – is believed to have ever been placed into those measures.

The inspectorate’s report found GMP’s crime recording had significantly deteriorated over the past two years.

It was now even worse at it than in 2016, when it was rated inadequate.

GMP’s services to victims were labelled a ‘serious cause for concern’, its investigations were described as drifting and poorly-planned, and failures in safeguarding of vulnerable people were uncovered.

The report found the force failed to record 80,000 crimes in a 12-month period and left victims ‘denied justice.’

The intervention came after five years of repeated warnings about the issues.

The measures mean the inspectorate, the Home Office, College of Policing, and the National Police Chiefs Council will all have oversight of the force, remaining involved in a hands-on capacity until it can demonstrate improvement.

Despite the searing spotlight on the force this week, Mr Burnham told the press conference Mr Hopkins had led GMP through some of its “most difficult periods in its history”, including austerity measures and cop numbers being slashed.

He also praised the policeman’s “exceptional leadership” and his force’s care for victims and families after the Manchester Arena bombing – “our darkest hour.”