EXTRA officers will form a new crack team to tackle child sexual exploitation, South Yorkshire’s Police Commissioner Shaun Wright has announced.
The move is included in Mr Wright’s budget that is now set for the next year.
As the county’s police force faces further finance cuts of £13 million up to 2015, Mr Wright said there will be more police visibility, by way of 400 more special constables on the streets.
A precept increase of a penny a day will keep police on the beat, he said, and 60 officers who are expected to retire over the next year will be replaced.
In addition, more officers will be deployed into neighbourhood policing roles in the community and there will be increased victim support services. There will be further investment to stop 16 and 17 year olds from offending, plus an increased grants scheme and greater partnership working
Further efficiencies under review include the centralising of CID and CCTV control.
Commissioner Wright said: “While the underlying function of any police budget is to ensure the delivery of best value for money for taxpayers, the primary aim is that my budget will still allow the force to deliver a greater police visibility in our neighbourhoods and one that leads to a decrease in criminal activity.
“I recognise that people want to see a greater police presence and to know that not only local petty crime, but also serious and organised criminal activity is efficiently and effectively reduced.
“It is exasperating that since the Government came to power, £43million will be taken away from policing in South Yorkshire, and while others might be content with a “make do” stance, I intend to seek ways of wringing as much value for money as I can from every single £1 we spend.
“It really is unacceptable that an area such as South Yorkshire, with its own unique problems on the back of deprivation caused by severe employment losses in the economy over past years, should be compared by the Government to the rural heartlands of Southern England in terms of crime.
“One of my priorities is to work closely with agencies and other organisations that also deal with criminal activities.
“Not only will this develop better relationships, but is the best way to make most efficient use of the limited resources we have available to all of us. For example, I want to see people who have alcohol or other addiction-related problems that may lead to crime, rehabilitated away from that criminal activity.”
He continued: “However, my approach to tackling crime is as straightforward as it is understandable. I will do all in my power to ensure we have a fully-accountable police service that has the necessary resources to combat crime.
“That said, the police will maintain their focus on local neighbourhood policing as a force that looks like the community it serves.”