£2.5m police squad to run 'surge' on South Yorkshire's violent criminals

South Yorkshire has been given £2.5 million to launch a violent crime taskforce – because it has one of the top seven rates of violent incidents.

Monday, 3rd June 2019, 2:33 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd June 2019, 6:02 pm

The Home office funding will support the new team of officers dedicated to tackling serious and violent crime in the county for 12 months and aims to reduce the volume of knife and firearm incidents, woundings and robberies. It will also look to increase the number of suspects arrested for these serious offences.

Launching the new scheme, assistant chief constable Tim Forber said: “The Home Office has granted seven police forces extra funding worth £2.5 million to tackle serious violence, and part of our response has been to put together a dedicated violent crime taskforce carrying out targeted visible policing which will be used in areas where our communities have told us it is needed, and against some individuals.

“We will also be working with partners in schools and hospitals.

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Launch of South Yorkshire violent crime taskforce in Doncaster

“Over the last two years we have invested significant resources in neighbourhood policing, working in the communities, and tackling serious and organised crime.

“Working in nbeighbourhoods is the best long term deterrent.

“This new squad allows us a surge capacity to deal with specific needs while working with the neighbourhood policing teams that are already in place.

He said the new unit will be deployed every day.

Launch of South Yorkshire violent crime taskforce in Doncaster

“We now also have more investigative caplibilities, and a violent crime co-ordinator to manage working with health and education partners to build a preverntatie capacity with schools and hospitals,” he added.

The violent crime task force was launched with a day of action in Doncaster yesterday, officers conducting high visibility patrols, test-purchases, weapons searches, and a knife arch operation.

It is made up of an inspector, three sergeants and 21 Pcs.

They will be deployed each day using officers working extra hours, rather than additional personnel.

People have begun to leave tributes to Sam Baker at the edge of the police cordon in Lowedges

The taskforce will be deployed daily, focusing on areas which have been identified by the force’s intelligence unit, eiatherbased on geography or individuals.

Mr Forber said: “South Yorkshire is one of the highest contributors to knife crime figures.

“Knife crime has been relatively static in South Yorkshire for 12 months, but the figure is relatively high. Other areas have seen significant increases in the last year.

“Our communities tell us violence and young people being involved in serious violence is a real concern for them.”

Launch of South Yorkshire violent crime taskforce in Doncaster

Officers will also go into schools to speak to young people about the issue, as well as work alongside hospitals.

Police believe working with hospitals to speak to victims of knife related violence provides an important window of opportunity in directing them away from violance.

Earlier this year police said they believed a change in how they approach and deal with knife crime was beginning to reduce the number of stabbings on the streets of Sheffield.

The number of knife crimes recorded in South Yorkshire fell by 12 per cent in the last year. The force recorded 819 knife-enabled crimes between September 2017 and 2018 - down from 931 in the previous 12 months.

Tragically though, eight of those incidents were fatal stabbings in Sheffield but South Yorkshire Police's lead for armed criminality, said the force was now beginning to see the benefts of a changed approach to the issue, working woith other agencies to to change people’s minds about carrying knives.

Back in May 2018, detectives and officers were left dealing with two fatal stabbings of teenagers in just three days.

Launch of South Yorkshire violent crime taskforce in Doncaster

Ryan Jowle, 19, died in hospital hours after being stabbed in the chest on Tannery Close, Woodhouse, on May 23 before 15-year-old Sam Baker died in a knife attack in Lowedges.

Asst Ch Cons Tim Forber