Police and Doncaster Council bosses hold crunch talks after mayor's scathing criticism of 'unfair allocation of officers'
South Yorkshire Police bosses and the county’s crime commissioner have held crunch talks with Doncaster Council figureheads after mayor Ros Jones blasted the force over the ‘unfair allocation of officers’ in the borough.
The mayor sent a scathing letter to police & crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings and said that ‘inconsistent and under-resourced level of policing’ is ‘failing residents and businesses’.
It’s understood the correspondence was sent following figures from the Office for National Statistics that showed that Doncaster town centre had the highest number of recorded crimes from December 2020 to May 2021.
Dr Billings, SYP’s assistant chief constable Dan Thorpe and Doncaster district commander, chief superintendent Mel Palin, met with Mayor Jones and council chief executive Damian Allen to discuss the concerns.
It’s understood that Mayor Jones ‘made her points strongly’ and demanded additional officers to ensure people felt safer in the town centre and to tackle growing concerns from councillors of crime and anti-social behaviour in other areas.
Dr Billings said that Doncaster having four prisons, an airport and a busy motorway network made policing the borough ‘a challenge’ in ensuring resources are ‘adequately and fairly distributed’.
He added that he was ‘sympathetic’ towards the concerns raised by the mayor and an upcoming budget was an opportunity to look again at resources available.
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said: “I have made my views clear in the strongest terms that Doncaster is not adequately policed to combat crime and anti-social behaviour and also to give ongoing reassurance to the public.
“I do feel that Doncaster is not getting the best possible service from South Yorkshire Police but in the spirit of partnership, I do want us to work together to resolve concerns.
“I am grateful to Dr Billings and SYP colleagues for acting upon my concerns and I look forward to more appropriate policing levels and activity that is more visible to myself, the council and the residents and businesses in Doncaster which achieves results.”
PPC Dr Billings said: “I am sympathetic to all the issues Mayor Jones raised. We listened to her concerns and we will reflect on them as the force looks to review how resources are allocated across the four districts.
“In the next few weeks the chief constable and I will be looking at putting together the budget for the coming year and this discussion will feed into those conversations and the decisions we will make.
“I am well aware of the unique challenges around policing in the Doncaster area. They have four prisons, an international airport, a large urban and rural mix as well as a busy motorway network. These all present a challenge in ensuring that police resources are adequately and fairly distributed.”