More police to deal with crime and yobs in Doncaster town centre
Extra police have been drafted in to Doncaster town centre to tackle ongoing crime and nuisance
Four constables are to be added to the Doncaster Central neighbourhood policing unit, and specifically assigned to dealing with issues in the town centre.
It comes amid ongoing concern over drug taking and dealing in the town centre, as well as other antisocial behaviour and crime.
The additional officers will be based at a site within the Frenchgate Centre to ensure that they are within the town centre area, rather than at the main College Road police station.
Neighbourhood inspector Lynne Lancaster said: "We've had limited resources and a big area to cover. That's why we've been given four officers to look at long term problems, which will include things like drug taking, anti-social behaviour, and quality of life issues. We had six - this takes the team up to 10.
"We are taking offices in the Frenchgate Centre, so they will be working in the town centre rather than having to go back to the police station to do the paperwork. We will be higher visibility."
The officers will be constables with full powers of arrest, rather then community support officers with more limited powers.
Among the first operations being run under the new system is an operation to deal with town centre drug abuse.
Town centre officers in plain clothes, and personnel from outside the town centre, have been taking action over reports of drug dealing and drug use in the town centre.
Insp Lancaster said: "We put officers in plain clothes out, and borrowed officers from outside the town centre who people would not recognise. On the first day we didn't find drugs, but we stopped people with dealer bags. It is allowing us to see what the problem is and to catch people at it.
"The idea was to use both plain clothed officers and uniformed officers. We will be doing more of these in the future. We've not previously had the resources."
Officers are now looking at creating a 'hot spot map' for all types of crime, with the intention of upping the visible police presence in the worst areas for issues including drugs, antisocial behaviour, theft and other types of crime.
It is the latest action in the town centre, which has already been targeted with a Public Space Protection Order - tough rules on what people cannot do - which was brought in last year to deal with antisocial behaviour.
Pat Hagan, who runs Doncaster Council's complex lives team, which works to help get beggars and rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation, recently revealed that since the Public Space Protection Order was put in place in November, police or council offers had approached people 3,257 times to tell them their behaviour was not acceptable. There had been 303 referrals to specialist support service to help people deal with social problems.
There had been 125 fixed penalty fines issues and 108 dispersal orders to force people to leave the town centre because of their behaviour.
Town centre businesses have raised concerns that there are still groups of beggars and homeless people in the town centre in the evening.
Meanwhile, acceptable behaviour contracts have been issued to a group of nuisance teenagers on bikes who caused problems in the town centre around the Easter holidays.
The gang of nuisance cyclists, largely made up of teenage girls, was at the centre of police concerns, with reports of them causing problems around the town centre and the interchange.
However, their parents have now signed acceptable behaviour contracts, and the mums' and dads' response to the issue has been described as 'really good'. One immediately had their bike confiscated by their parents, it is understood.