Police chiefs have unveiled details of how South Yorkshire is to be policed as Government funding cuts bite.
With police officer numbers at their lowest levels for years and police chiefs battling to save cash after having £49 million slashed from their budget, bobbies have been assigned to new teams and will work different hours and shift patterns.
The aim is to provide a more flexible police service with staff on duty at the times they are needed most, including more at evenings and weekends, which tend to be busier.
Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster will now be served by ‘local policing teams’, which will respond to crimes and incidents on their patches and tackle community issues.
There will be six teams in Sheffield, three in Rotherham, two in Barnsley and three in Doncaster.
Under the old system communities were served by teams of response officers and neighbourhood officers, often meaning a disjointed approach and some duplication.
From May, when the new system will be rolled out, in Doncaster initially, each district will have a support unit to work alongside the local policing teams.
Support units will deal with long term issues, offender management, anti-social behaviour and resolve spikes in particular crimes or issues.
A force crime unit will be deployed to districts to deal with major incidents including murders.
And a public protection unit set up to deal with issues including child sexual exploitation, child abuse and domestic abuse will operate across the county.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “Even though numbers are being squeezed all the time, with local policing teams there will be more officers visible in communities at any one time.”
Chief Constable David Crompton said officers assigned to the new teams are expected to build up a ‘specialist knowledge’ of their patch.