Doncaster mayor Ros Jones hits out at South Yorkshire crime commissioner and Labour colleague Dr Alan Billings over ‘inconsistent and under-resourced level of policing’ for town

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has called out police commissioner and Labour colleague Dr Alan Billings and said ‘inconsistent and under-resourced level of policing’ is ‘failing residents and businesses’.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 8:16 pm
Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has criticised the allocation of police officers for the town in a letter to South Yorkshire crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings

In a letter seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the mayor calls on the police and crime commissioner to look at fairer allocation of officers to the borough in wake ‘high demand’.

The correspondence was sent in relation to data from the Office for National Statistics which revealed that Doncaster town centre had the highest amount of recorded crimes of anywhere in South Yorkshire between December 2020 and May 2021.

Mayor Jones added that the increase in town centre ambassadors and funding two dedicated officers in the town centre from 7am until 10pm in 2018 was done on the understanding that there would be an ‘uplift in neighbourhood resources’ in 2019 from the PCC.

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South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings

But the mayor went on to say that this notion ‘hasn’t materialised’ and there has been a ‘deterioration in behaviour’ along with an increase in complaints from the public.

The mayor has called for a ‘review and reprofiling’ of officers graduating from training school to give ‘more priority to Doncaster’, relevant to the ‘demand in the borough’.

Taken from the letter, Mayor Jones said: “The inconsistent and under-resourced level of policing is failing our residents and businesses in our duty to keep the town centre streets safe.

“I can provide numerous examples, but the most frequent reason given is the need to take officers from neighbourhood teams and to support response officers dealing with other high demand issues – namely the ‘active queue’.

The letter from Ros Jones to Dr Alan Billings

“My strong belief is the general lack of resilience within response teams and an unequal distribution of resources, coupled with high demand, are matters that require urgent review to ensure a fairer allocation of officers to Doncaster.”

The letter has been pounced upon by opposition Conservative councillors in Doncaster who said the problems arise from a ‘void in decision making’ and of ‘meaningly local policy’.

Conservative leader on DMBC, Coun Jane Cox on behalf of the group, said: “The fact that there now seems to be a public falling out between the mayor and the PCC is down to a void in decision making and meaningful local policy.

“This is why there has not been any effective management of the town centre issues and an increase in public complaints.

“It will only get worse because the political will is not there to bring about a real change.

“Agreement and consensus are needed between the mayor and PCC to make good use of the increased police numbers and the mayor does not seem to want to concede on anything meaning that Doncaster suffers.”

Speaking directly to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police & Crime Commissioner, said: “On receiving the mayor’s letter, I have agreed with the mayor and Doncaster police that we should hold an urgent meeting.

This is scheduled for next week. I think we all understand the issues and will be able to find ways forward to make a significant difference.”

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