South Yorkshire Police
MottoJustice with courage
Agency overview
Preceding agencies
Annual budget£251 million (2012–13)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionSouth Yorkshire, England
Map of South Yorkshire Police's jurisdiction
Size1,554 square kilometres (600 sq mi)
Population1.28 million
Governing bodyHome Office
Constituting instrument
General nature
Operational structure
Overseen by
Sworn members2,710 (As of August 2013)
Unsworn members2,218 (As of August 2013)
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner responsible
Agency executives
  • Lauren Poultney, Chief constable
  • Tim Forber, Temporary deputy chief constable
  • Dave Hartley, Assistant chief constable
  • Sarah Poolman, Acting assistant chief constable
  • Barnsley
  • Doncaster
  • Rotherham
  • Sheffield
Custody Suites3
Vehicle Fleets500 +
Website Edit this at Wikidata

South Yorkshire Police (SYP) is the territorial police force responsible for policing South Yorkshire in England. The force is led by Chief Constable Lauren Poultney. Oversight is conducted by Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings.


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2023)

The force was formed in 1974, as a merger of the previous Sheffield and Rotherham Constabulary along with part of the West Yorkshire Constabulary area (which Barnsley Borough Police and Doncaster Borough Police had been merged into on 1 October 1968).

The force's roads policing unit and its helicopter, Sierra Yankee 99, have been a feature in three television series: Traffic Cops, Sky Cops and Police Interceptors. The helicopter unit was subsequently taken over by the National Police Air Service (NPAS), and closed down.

Chief constables

Chief constables of South Yorkshire Police
Period of Appointment Name
1974–1979 Sir Richard Barratt
1979–1983 James Hilton Brownlow[1]
1983–1990 Peter Wright[2]
1990–1998 Richard Wells
1998–2004 Mike Hedges
2004–2011 Meredydd Hughes
2011–2012 Robert Dyson (temporary)[3]
2012–2016 David Crompton[4][5]
2016–2021 Stephen Watson
2021–present Lauren Poultney[6]

Roll of honour

The Police Roll of Honour Trust and Police Memorial Trust list and commemorate all British police officers killed in the line of duty. Since its establishment in 1984, the Police Memorial Trust has erected 50 memorials nationally to some of those officers.

The list below shows sworn police officers who have died whilst on duty:[7]

Name Rank Organisation Date Cause of death
Alfred Austwick 09Police constable West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary 1886-08-01(1886-08-01)1 August 1886 (aged 30) Shot and fatally wounded by a man he had warned about his conduct
William Beardshaw 09Police constable Sheffield Borough Police 1855-07-23(1855-07-23)23 July 1855 (aged 26) Struck on head by a stone during a street disturbance and died next day
Arthur Tyler Bull 10Special constable Rotherham Borough Police 1916-10-02(1916-10-02)2 October 1916 (aged 46) Collapsed of heart failure while on duty in the early hours
Archie Cornish 07Inspector Sheffield Police Fire Brigade 1931-02-18(1931-02-18)18 February 1931 (aged 47) Burns sustained fighting a fire at a hospital in November 1930
Sandra Jane Edwards 09Woman police constable South Yorkshire Police 1995-05-10(1995-05-10)10 May 1995 (aged 28) Traffic car crashed while pursuing a stolen car
Dave Fields 09Police constable South Yorkshire Police 2017-12-25(2017-12-25)25 December 2017 (aged 45) Traffic car crashed while responding to an incident
Samuel Pidd Gibson 09Police constable Sheffield Borough Police 1872-02-24(1872-02-24)24 February 1872 (aged 33) A fractured skull received during an arrest in a hostile crowd
Harold Grainger 09Police constable South Yorkshire Police 1974-10-26(1974-10-26)26 October 1974 (aged 35) Police vehicle accident while on prisoner escort to Paisley
Glen Howe 09Police constable South Yorkshire Police 2008-10-24(2008-10-24)24 October 2008 (aged 48) Police motorcycle accident attending an emergency in Sheffield
Matt Lannie 09Police constable South Yorkshire Police 2008-10-24(2020-04-21)21 April 2020 (aged 40) Police motorcycle accident in Sheffield while responding to a vehicle failing to stop
Thomas Andrew Jackson 09Police constable South Yorkshire Police 2003-12-13(2003-12-13)13 December 2003 (aged 46) Collapsed dispersing rival football crowds with his police dog
William Jackson 08Sergeant Sheffield City Police 1914-11-26(1914-11-26)26 November 1914 (aged 41) Accidentally killed by a train while crossing the line on patrol at night
John William Kew 09Police constable West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary 1900-07-11(1900-07-11)11 July 1900 (aged 29) Fatally shot challenging two armed suspects who had threatened him
Harry Marriott 09Police constable Sheffield City Police 1961-06-08(1961-06-08)8 June 1961 (aged 31) Accidental collision with a van while on motorcycle patrol
Lot Moor 09Police constable West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary 1900-06-16(1900-06-16)16 June 1900 (aged 58) Found dead on his beat in the early morning believed from heart failure
Frank Hides Munks 10Police war reserve constable Sheffield City Police 1940-12-13(1940-12-13)13 December 1940 (aged 52) Enemy air raid
John Pollard 01Chief constable Rotherham Borough Police 1888-06-30(1888-06-30)30 June 1888 (aged 41) Collapsed while running to the scene of a fire late at night
Edwin Pryor 09Police constable Sheffield Borough Police 1857-04-08(1857-04-08)8 April 1857 Struck on head by a stone during a street disturbance and died next day
Rex Webster Robinson 08Sergeant Doncaster Borough Police 1961-12-09(1961-12-09)9 December 1961 (aged 52) Collapsed while briefing traffic officers on shift changeover
Gina Corin Rutherford 09Woman police constable South Yorkshire Police 1994-02-07(1994-02-07)7 February 1994 (aged 25) Drowned in a patrol car which left an icy road and crashed into a river
Barry Saunders 09Police constable South Yorkshire Police 1989-11-24(1989-11-24)24 November 1989 (aged 31) Fell through a roof while checking burgled factory premises
James Slee 09Police constable Sheffield City Police 1940-09(1940-09-00)September 1940 (aged 30) Road accident on patrol in a police motorcycle combination
Kenneth South 09Police constable Sheffield City Police 1960-03-30(1960-03-30)30 March 1960 (aged 25) Motorcycle accident after finishing an extended tour of duty
Frederick Parkes Spencer 09Police fireman Sheffield Police Fire Brigade 1940-12-12(1940-12-12)12 December 1940 (aged 36) Killed fighting a fire at the Empire Theatre after an enemy air raid
George William Watson 07Inspector West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary 1953-11-05(1953-11-05)5 November 1953 (aged 48) Collapsed soon after leading a police funeral escort

Notable incidents and investigations

South Yorkshire Police Patch

The force has received national attention for the unlawful killing of over 90 people in the Hillsborough Disaster,[8][9] and the failure to investigate of child sex abuse in the Rotherham scandal in the 2000s.[10][11]

Conduct in the 1984 miners' strike

Main article: Battle of Orgreave

During the miners strike of 1984 officers from South Yorkshire attacked striking miners then arrested 95 on the charge of rioting. It was found the Police Force had fabricated evidence, carried out false arrest and assaulted miners. No police officer has ever been disciplined or accepted responsibility for their actions.[12] Ex officer Tony Munday has called for an inquiry into how South Yorkshire Police handled the aftermath of the Battle of Orgreave claiming he was told what to put in his statement "by a senior South Yorkshire detective" after he arrested a miner during the Orgreave confrontation. "I've never before or since, while I've been a police officer, been involved where effectively chunks of a statement were dictated. They weren't my words."[13]

Hillsborough disaster

Main article: Hillsborough disaster

The force was condemned by Prime Minister David Cameron in September 2012 for their dishonesty and gross negligence in their handling of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, which led to an apology from the then Chief Constable David Crompton.[14] The Hillsborough Independent Panel had exposed the way in which the force had attempted to divert blame from their own mishandling of the tragedy by feeding false information to the media and altering statements given by their own officers. In June 2013, UK newspaper The Guardian reported on emails sent by Crompton in which he had suggested that the families of fans killed at the Hillsborough disaster had been untruthful. In one, Crompton had written: "One thing is certain – the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version … in fact their version of certain events has become 'the truth' even though it isn't!! I just have the feeling that the media 'machine' favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill."[15]

On 27 April 2016, it was reported that the force's Chief Constable David Crompton was to be suspended following statements made by South Yorkshire Police after the verdict of the jury in the second Hillsborough disaster inquest.[16] He was temporarily replaced by Deputy Chief Constable Dawn Copley, but the following day it was announced that she herself would be stepping down "in the interests of the force and the workforce" after an investigation into her conduct whilst serving as Assistant Chief Constable at Greater Manchester Police was reported.[17]

Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal

Main article: Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal

The force's judgement has been called into question over a number of incidents in the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, where prosecutions were not undertaken.[18]

In January 2020, the Independent Office for Police Conduct found that South Yorkshire Police had taken insufficient action to protect from harm a child, who had been sexually abused and exploited by Asian men for several years from 2003 onwards. An unnamed chief inspector had told the investigation that the force had been aware of similar abuse for 30 years but had ignored it for fear of increasing racial tensions.[19][20] In July 2020 the Independent Office of Police Conduct again considered the force's response in relation to the death of Amy-Leanne Stringfellow.[21]

Other incidents

In July 2014 South Yorkshire Police came under scrutiny once again following a much-criticised filmed raid on the home of Sir Cliff Richard. No charges resulted but South Yorkshire police agreed to pay Sir Cliff £400,000 to settle a claim he brought against the force.[citation needed]

In May 2016, it was reported that two serving police officers, a pilot serving with the National Police Air Service and two retired police officers who crewed the South Yorkshire Police helicopter were to stand trial accused of misusing the camera on the SY Police helicopter to film people who were naked or having sex. Four of the men denied charges of misconduct in a public office and were due to stand trial at Sheffield Crown Court on 17 July 2017. A fifth man did not appear at the hearing.[22][23] All of the men apart from the 5th were found not guilty of any offence by a jury. The 5th had previously admitted four charges of misconduct in a public office.[24]

Police area

The police force covers an area of approximately 600 square miles (1,554 square kilometres) which is made up of the county's three boroughs (Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham) along with the City of Sheffield. The resident population is 1.2 million.

South Yorkshire Police BMW

The force is divided into four basic command units (BCUs):


Force headquarters is at Carbrook House, in Tinsley, Sheffield, following a move from Snig Hill police station in early 2013. This move saw the senior command team and other services (such as firearms licensing) move into one location, funded by the sale of outdated buildings, including West Bar police station, and the future sale of vacated properties.[25]


South Yorkshire Police traffic car pictured in 2023

South Yorkshire Police is one of a number of police forces in the United Kingdom to merge its vehicle maintenance operations with their area fire service, merging maintenance operations with the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in June 2018.[26] Joint maintenance operations are based at a workshop in Rotherham, which opened in late 2020.[27]

South Yorkshire Police maintained a fleet of both marked and unmarked Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X and Vauxhall Insignia VXRs as part of the force's Road Crime Unit throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s, replacing a fleet of Volvos previously used for traffic policing operations.[28] The force had previously made use of older Lancer Evolution VIII and IX around the time of the introduction of the Evolution X models.[29]

South Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Police led a consortium of twenty other police forces in England, Scotland and Wales in a £34 million national fleet vehicle standardisation scheme in 2015. The forces involved in the consortium standardised on Peugeot vehicles for general purpose use, purchasing the 208, 308, 3008, and Partner, as well as BMW vehicles for use in traffic policing and Ford four-wheel drive vehicles. Savings for taxpayers as a result of this purchasing consortium was estimated at around £5 million.[30]


The chief constable since May 2021 is Lauren Poultney.[6] She replaced Stephen Watson, who left South Yorkshire Police to take over as chief constable of Greater Manchester Police.[31] Watson replaced Dawn Copley, the former deputy chief constable, who stood down a day after assuming the acting chief constable post due to 'her conduct at a previous force being investigated'.[32] Copley assumed the post after David Crompton was suspended regarding comments made about the Hillsborough disaster.[33]


South Yorkshire Police is governed by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.[34] The election took place on 15 November 2012, the same day as 40 other elections for the respective police and crime commissioners (the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police having other elected officials acting as Commissioner). His deputy, Tracey Cheetham, was confirmed by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel in January 2013.[35] This is a salaried position, which is coming under scrutiny by local press.[36] The incumbent PCC is Alan Billings, a former Anglican priest and Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council, who was elected at a by-election on 30 October 2014, to replace Shaun Wright, the incumbent who resigned in the wake of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation controversy. The police and crime commissioner and his deputy are overseen by the police and crime panel.

Before November 2012, police governance was undertaken by the South Yorkshire Police Authority, made up of elected councillors from the four metropolitan boroughs.

See also


  1. ^ "Obituaries: James Brownlow". The Times. 10 January 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Peter Wright obituary". The Guardian. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Med Hughes says South Yorkshire Police is in 'safe hands'". BBC News. 8 October 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  4. ^ "David Crompton appointed new South Yorkshire Police chief". BBC News. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  5. ^ "South Yorkshire Police chief suspended over Hillsborough". 27 April 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  6. ^ a b "South Yorkshire Police confirm first ever female Chief Constable". ITV News. 11 June 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  7. ^ Police Roll of Honour Trust. "South Yorkshire Police Roll of Honour". Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  8. ^ Watson, Leon (26 April 2016). "Hillsborough verdicts: Police to blame for disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed, jury concludes". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  9. ^ Conn, David (26 April 2016). "Hillsborough inquests jury rules 96 victims were unlawfully killed". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  10. ^ Norfolk, Andrew. "Rotherham police chief: we ignored sex abuse of children". The Times. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Rotherham sex abuse: Failure to identify police officer questioned by MP". BBC News. 19 January 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  12. ^ Conn, David (12 April 2012). "Hillsborough and Battle of Orgreave: one police force, two disgraces". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  13. ^ "Battle of Orgreave ex-officer calls for police conduct inquiry". BBC News. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  14. ^ "South Yorkshire Police's Hillsborough apology". BBC News. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Hillsborough comments made by chief constable in email to be investigated". The Guardian. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  16. ^ "South Yorkshire Police chief suspended over Hillsborough". BBC News Online. 27 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  17. ^ "South Yorkshire Police chief to stand down over criticism". BBC News Online. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  18. ^ O'Carroll, Lisa; Halliday, Josh (25 February 2016). "Rotherham child sexual abuse victims to take police to court". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  19. ^ Norfolk, Andrew. "Rotherham police chief: we ignored sex abuse of children". The Times. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  20. ^ "Rotherham police did not do enough to protect girls from abuse by Asian men, says watchdog". The Telegraph. 18 January 2020. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Investigation into South Yorkshire Police contact prior to woman's death". ITV News. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Five in court over South Yorkshire Police helicopter sex films". BBC News Online. 10 May 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  23. ^ "Police helicopter sex accused to stand trial". BBC News Online. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  24. ^ Siddique, Haroon (4 August 2017). "South Yorkshire police helicopter crew cleared over filming people naked". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  25. ^ "South Yorkshire Police purchase the Carbrook House in Sheffield". Property Magazine International. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  26. ^ Tooze, Sarah (1 July 2019). "Fleet profiles: South Yorkshire Police & South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue". FleetNews. Retrieved 27 August 2023.
  27. ^ "Joint fire and police vehicle workshops hailed a success". South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue. 30 April 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2023.
  28. ^ "Specialist police unit pays off as drugs and stolen cars seized". The Yorkshire Post. Leeds. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2023.
  29. ^ Hardigree, Matt (9 December 2008). "UK County Gets Three Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Police Cars". Jalopnik. Retrieved 27 August 2023.
  30. ^ "Joint police fleet purchase deal to save public £5m". FleetNews. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2023.
  31. ^ "Experienced Chief Constable Stephen Watson confirmed as new Chief of Greater Manchester Police". Greater Manchester Combined Authority. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  32. ^ "Acting South Yorkshire police chief steps down over conduct questions". The Guardian. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  33. ^ "South Yorkshire Police Command Team". South Yorkshire Police. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  34. ^ "South Yorkshire Labour candidate Shaun Wright elected police chief". BBC News. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  35. ^ "South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner confirms Deputy". 14 January 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  36. ^ "New South Yorkshire deputy police chief role comes under fire". The Star. 15 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.