Have you thought about a career in the police force?

Although South Yorkshire police is one service, it is organised in part into four districts, following local government boundaries for Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 7:00 pm

The leaders of each local authority lobby hard for their district to receive a fair share of police resources – and none more so than Ros Jones, mayor of Doncaster.

She pressed strongly last year, for example, for the reopening of Edlington Police Station – which was done.

Fortunately, this year we have been able to ensure Doncaster continues to get its share of officers, because we will be increasing officer numbers for a second year running.

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Chief Constable Stephen Watson outside the reopened Edlington police station

Last year, we could do this because I increased the element of the council tax for policing - the precept.

I said we would use this funding to increase police numbers in South Yorkshire each year until we had an additional 220 by 2023-24.

I was sure that, unless we stopped the year-on-year cut in officer numbers, which had been ongoing since 2010, we could not realistically get on top of crime, especially serious and violent crime.

I never accepted the argument there was no relationship between crime and police numbers.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner

Then the government itself decided to reverse its own policy of austerity and increase police numbers overall by 20,000 nationwide. Our share of that would be 487.

If anyone doubts the need for more officers, they should think about what the police have had to do in the last few months, in addition to ‘normal’ police activities.

We had the floods, which devastated large areas of Doncaster district and required intensive policing, to seal off roads, help residents, assist the rescue services and prevent looting and scams.

Now we have the coronavirus, which needs officers to encourage people to observe social distancing and not make unnecessary journeys.

While this is happening, the force is continuing to recruit. As well as those additional posts from the precept and the government, a further 779 recruits are needed to fill the gaps left through officers retiring.

Altogether, we need 1,486 new officers by 2023/24.

The Covid-19 crisis will result in some unemployment. This is surely the moment for some men and women in Doncaster to think seriously about a career in policing. The next phase of the recruitment campaign will launch in June, keep an eye out for details.