Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police chief David Crompton in legal bid over resignation

South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable David Crompton Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Chief Constable David Crompton was suspended on 27 April

The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police will take legal action over the decision to ask him to resign.

David Crompton was suspended by Dr Alan Billings, the region's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), after the Hillsborough inquest verdicts in April.

He said Mr Crompton had led a force that put "its own reputation first before considering victims".

Mr Crompton said the PCC's resignation call was "fundamentally wrong" and he would take legal action.

He said: "I will shortly be commencing judicial review proceedings in the High Court in order to challenge him."

Dr Billings said the force needed a new start under new leadership.

"This is due to the erosion of trust and confidence in his leadership which would have continued and intensified as long as he remained in post," he said.

"This would not have been in the interests of South Yorkshire police or people."

'Nothing to resign for'

Mr Crompton was suspended after an inquest jury concluded police conduct contributed to or caused the deaths of 96 football falls at Hillsborough in 1989.

The families of those who died complained to the coroner and claimed a line of questioning by South Yorkshire Police was designed to try and blame the fans for the disaster.

After the inquests, Mr Crompton appeared to justify the questioning of the fans' conduct.

Summarising his reasons for asking the chief constable to immediately resign, Dr Billings said the statement showed Mr Crompton did not "grasp the gravity of the situation".

He added the statement was "insensitive and damaged both the force and the Chief Constable himself".

The PCC also revealed he had asked Mr Crompton to resign on the day the jurors delivered their verdicts.

It was reported Mr Crompton said "he would not consider this as he had nothing to resign for".

Solicitors acting on behalf of 20 bereaved Hillsborough families submitted a complaint to the Independent Police Complaint Commission in May about Mr Crompton's conduct during the inquests.

'Unfair and disproportionate'

A report by the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel published last week described his attempt to explain the legal approach as "a catastrophic error of judgement" and gave its backing to the PCC's decision.

The decision has, however, been criticised by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor as "conspicuously unfair and disproportionate".

Solicitor Nicola Brook, who represents some of the families, said she was disappointed with Mr Crompton's decision to pursue a legal challenge.

She said: "I think it is just one more example of what the families have always thought about those in charge at South Yorkshire Police that they do not accept criticism, they are not able or willing to learn lessons and accountability seems to be a concept they think applies to other people not them."

Sheila Coleman, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, said Mr Crompton's decision to pursue legal action was "appalling".

David Crompton

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