Town centre arrests as more officers on the streets: Police column

Police patrolling Doncaster town centre, Picture: David Kessen

You may have noticed something in the town centre this week – more police, writes Doncaster Central Insp Lynne Lancaster.

If you have been there this week, you will have seen a greater police presence, after the council provided additional funding to extend our hours of work.

Police are marking lots of properties with Smartwater'Byline: Johnston Press

Previously, there has been an issue with split shift patterns. But now we will have patrols from 7am until 10pm every day. This is over and above the 24/7 cover that is provided by response officers and will be officers dedicated to walk the town centre.

I was out on foot patrol myself on the first day of the new arrangement. We arrested someone for shoplifting, and someone else for breaking a criminal behaviour order in a very short space of time.

The breach of a criminal behaviour order had been granted by the courts to prevent the man being intoxicated in the town centre. He was charged with breaching that order but was released on bail by the courts.. He has since been re-arrested for a further breach and charged again with these offences.     

We have also had a breach of the first criminal behaviour order in the town to ban someone from entering the town centre because of the antisocial behaviour.

Julie McCaughran was seen sitting on Baxtergate in the town centre in breach of her order. She was remanded in custody ahead of a court appearance.

In all, on the first day, we spent 57 hours on patrol in the area covered by the Public Space Protection Order in the town centre. If anyone is interested in reading more about what we do please sign up to syp alerts at www.sypalerts.co.uk.where we post regular updates.

While I was out and about, a man came up and shook my hand. He said he often writes letters of complaint, but he said how great it was to see the police out like this, and that he hoped it would continue.

People have also told me in the past they have found it hard to get through to the police on the phone.

I recently went to the Doncaster town centre business forum and told the businesses there that people can report issues online. But I also told them that the South Yorkshire Police website now has the mobile numbers for all our town centre officers, so people can ring them direct.

We also now have offices we can use at the Frenchgate, and at the Corn Exchange. It is likely there will be one at the Wool Market too when it is completed. These are places my staff can use to do paperwork, without having to leave the town centre. But  the officers will not be there all the time, and it is not a place to report issues to us.

We also have a commitment from the force’s mounted division to carry out patrols by officers on police horses, and our tactical support group, who do jobs like policing football matches, have also been allocated to the town centre and will be patrolling the hot spots when not employed elsewhere.

The complex lives team is engaging with people in the town centre to offer them help, but some are still refusing to get help to change their way of life.

We recently saw a spike in calls to the Doncaster Travel Lodge.

It turned out that Peterborough City Council was using the hotel to put up families with problems because of local accommodation shortages. We had not been made aware of this, and we have visited other hotels in the area to see if anything similar is happening which was not the case.

It would have been nice to have been told what was happening. In my opinion we should at least have been consulted and made aware of who they were sending and any potential needs they may have had. Peterborough Council has since been in touch and apologised for not notifying us.

Calls to the hotel were up from eight from January to April, to 21 from April to August.

Residents in Hexthorpe and Balby are set to hear from us this month as we start a large scale property marking scheme, which we’re calling Operation Shield.

They are areas which in the past have seen relatively high numbers of burglaries.

We will be doorknocking on over 2,500 houses and property marking everything of value in the house. It is a project we think could take six months to complete, and we’ll be working with our partners at Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue on this.

Items will be marked by trained officers using a liquid which has a different formula for each house. We will also be visiting second hand shops to tell them about the scheme, and giving them equipment to check it items are marked. We think it will deter thieves and help us prove that property we recover is stolen and enable us to return items to their owners.

In the past, bottles of the liquid have been given out to households. But sometimes people don’t get round to using it. We hope that our trained officers will be able to make sure people have better protection against crime by marking their property.

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