BARNSLEY’S new police chief has vowed to restore trust in the community with a ‘zero tolerance’ approach on abhorrent ‘bad eggs’ in the force – following a number of officer arrests in the past few months.
New Chief Superintendent Simon Wanless only started his role in September, but he’s already well on with reducing the negativity around his staff from residents.
In the past few months, three Barnsley police officers have been arrested – prompting residents to raise concerns about their trust in the force.
Former PC Nabeel Khan was handed a two-year jail term for dealing drugs on Barnsley’s streets after an investigation by South Yorkshire Police and the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Whilst Liam Mills, 34, was jailed for nine months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of misconduct in a public office and a data protection offence.
Mills was found to have had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female victim.
Another 27-year-old officer, who has not been names, was also arrested last month on suspicion of misconduct in a public officer – following a report to the force’s Professional Standards Department.
The offences are alleged to have taken place whilst on duty working on a response team in Barnsley.
Chf Supt Wanless told the Chronicle: “I’ve got nearly 24 years of service and nothing upsets and annoys me more than a police officer who through their own misguided ethics affects the trust in the vast majority of constables.
“I can see how hard how hard my police officers and police staff work.
“It only takes one bad egg to knock the confidence.
“Confidence is a really difficult thing to gain, but it’s really easy to lose.
“My message to my staff is that I will absolutely not tolerate anyone who undermines the trust and confidence, and crosses the line into criminality.
“If that happens then I will absolutely throw the full weight of our regulations and power against them.
“We’ve got to work hard to try and restore the trust and confidence in the force.”
He added that the officers themselves are the ones alerting authority of the wrongdoing certain officers are committing.
“As abhorrent as it is, they are actually very few in number,” he said.
“They are dealt with quickly, they are dealt with robustly and the public should take confidence in the fact that some of our most recent incidents have been singled out by their colleagues.
“That should give the public confidence that they are single individuals, but the rest of the force is working hard and they won’t tolerate it.
“It’s not just me saying it, it’s my staff too – they work tremendously hard at what they do and this undermines them.”
Wanless, who has previously worked in Barnsley, has outlined his aims for his tenure.
“For my response teams, I want them to get to incidents in as quick and safe a manner as possible,” he added.
“To deal robustly with domestic abuse, child exploitation offences and to do everything we possibly can to safeguard those people.
“For our neighbourhood teams, it’s important that we reassure communities and make sure they feel safe where they live.
“We need to work much harder on addressing our neighbourhood crime.
“It’s really important that the communities in Barnsley understand how hard we’re working to keep them safe.
“But also to have some confidence and reassurance that we’re doing a good job.
“These issues do matter to us, and we will be working hard to keep them safe throughout the day and night.”