Stephen Watson has been officially confirmed as the new chief constable of Greater Manchester Police.

Mr Watson, who currently chief constable at South Yorkshire Police (SYP), will join the force which is currently in “special measures”.

The force has recently been beset with a number of problems after a damning watchdog report revealed the force had failed to record 80,000 crimes, which saw the last chief, Ian Hopkins, forced out.

Mr Watson has a reputation for turning around failing forces after his time at SYP and has received the support of Andy Burnham, Metro Mayor, and Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor for Policing.

As a news conference was held alongside Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Mr Watson said: “I am acutely aware of the challenges that currently face the force but I am convinced that a new and brighter chapter is perfectly achievable.

“Whilst much remains to be done, and rapid improvements must be made, there is also much to be proud of in what the force achieves every day.

“The energy and determination within GMP to realise the enormous latent potential of the force is palpable.”

Mr Watson emphasised leadership, values, culture, looking “smarter” and pride in the force at the news conference.

As he joined SYP, the force was dealing with the Rotherham grooming scandal, the fallout from leaked information relating to a police raid at the home of Sir Cliff Richard and ongoing historical prosecutions for the Hillsborough disaster.

SYP has been the most improved force in the country for three consecutive years and is today among the very top tier of high performing forces.

A senior police source told the PA news agency: “He’s given leadership when it really needed it at South Yorkshire Police. He’s the best fit I think for what GMP needs right now.”

Rank-and-file officers told PA that under Mr Hopkins’ tenure, GMP leadership was regarded as remote from its workforce and sometimes seen as having a preoccupation with championing issues of diversity and inclusion.

Mr Watson, who has no social media profile, is the chairman of the England Police Rugby Union Football Club and banned police officers having tattoos visible while on duty at SYP.

Mr Burnham said: “He has an extremely impressive track record of working in senior positions in some of the country’s biggest police forces.

“The change he has overseen in his time in charge of South Yorkshire Police is particularly impressive and his drive, ambition and desire to serve the public is what Greater Manchester needs.”

Mr Hopkins, who had held the top job at GMP since 2015, stepped down last December after Mr Burnham came under pressure to sack him.

Days earlier, a damning report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found the force of 6,800 officers had lost more than 80,000 crimes reported to them.

A new computer system, beset by technical problems, called iOps, also known as “iFlops”, was linked to the failure to record crime.

Mr Watson will take up his £204,000-a-year, five-year appointment on May 24.

He first joined Lancashire Constabulary in 1988, has served as a chief superintendent with Merseyside Police, and in other senior roles with the Metropolitan Police, Durham Constabulary and SYP.

In 2019, Mr Watson was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) for distinguished service.