‘I’ve not seen a police officer on foot in my village for two years’ – South Yorkshire Police neighbourhood model ‘not the same as it was’

A senior South Yorkshire Police officer has said the force is ‘always honest’ with residents that their neighbourhood model is ‘not the same as it once was’.

Thursday, 14th February 2019, 4:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th February 2019, 4:32 pm
Officers on patrol in Doncaster town centre. Picture: George Torr

The comments from Doncaster Supt Neil Thomas came after Adwick & Carcroft Coun David Hughes said he’s ‘not seen a neighbourhood officer’ on a foot patrol in Highfields since he was elected in 2017 at a recent meeting. 

Coun Hughes said he was ‘very impressed’ with a video presentation by given by chief constable Stephen Watson when the force decided to re-adopt the model in an effort to restore links with communities.  

The previous neighbourhood policing model was controversially scrapped under former chief constable David Crompton. 

Supt Thomas said five years ago the force had the ability to provide a an officer and PCSO ‘in literally every village and community’.

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He added the situation with regards to moving resources to other communities is discussed on a ‘daily or weekly basis’.

Coun Hughes said: “I’ve been a councillor for two years and in my time I’ve not seen a neighbourhood officer out in my village. 

“I notice in Hexthorpe we’ve got PCs and PCSOs walking around with people approaching them.”

Supt Thomas said: “We’re always honest with the people of Doncaster and across South Yorkshire that the neighbourhood policing model in place is not the same as it once was.

“That is simply down to the amount of police officers we have. Going back five years, we had a lot more neighbourhood police officers in South Yorkshire and PCSOs. 

“There will be places in Doncaster that do have coverage with neighbourhood policing with a visible presence compared to other areas. 

“Hexthorpe has been a place where officers are seen regularly and that’s because it has issues and policing problems at the moment which require neighbourhood policing to go in and engage with the public. 

“Despite reintroducing neighbourhood policing, the numbers are not there as they were previously – the coverage is not universal.”