Reasons to be optimistic with more police heading for Doncaster: police column
It has been a year of change in how we police Doncaster '“Â but we now have plenty of reason to be optimistic for the future.
During 2018, weÂ haveÂ changedÂ the structures to make sureÂ we areÂ more proactive than we may have been historically.
We have seen the return ofÂ aÂ CID department based in Doncaster, rather than operatingÂ asÂ a centralisedÂ South Yorkshire team.
It means we have local ownership andÂ thereforeÂ crime investigation in Doncaster can be more flexibly managed. We've also nowÂ createdÂ four tasking teamsÂ who proactively intervene toÂ manage and reduce the activities ofÂ organised crime groups.
It has been successful. We've seen a considerable decrease in the activity of crime groups in Doncaster particularly in Mexborough. The tasking teams completed over 100 warrants against organised crime group members and seized hundreds of thousands of pounds in drugs and cash in 2018 but there is still much to be done and this work will continue in 2019.
The work with our partners has also developedÂ includingÂ agencies such asÂ Doncaster Council, St Leger Homes, the NHS and theÂ ProbationÂ Service, and they have contributed significantly.
With the reintroduction of the Police neighbourhood teams, the partnership work has been about tackling community problems from different angles. For example when we recently worked in an area of Doncaster, theÂ council teamsÂ undertookÂ street cleaning work, and removed graffiti. Trading standards officersÂ completedÂ test purchasesÂ at licensed premises forÂ alcohol,Â whilstÂ the NHSÂ didÂ health screening.Â Together with the police enforcement activity, this partnership approach ensured we addressed communities issues from a variety of perspectives.
The work we are doing also includes going into school to talk to children about antisocial behaviour, so that they understand some of the issues. It helps them understand that rowdy groups of young people on the street can be intimidated for older people, which they may not realise. We haveÂ completedÂ presentations to over 600 school children about the signs of child criminal exploitation, and the dangers of getting involved in gangs
It is about improving an area with a rounded responseÂ and as a result we have seen a fall in reports of crime and antisocial behaviour. There has been a 12 per cent fall in the number of incidentsÂ reported in 2018 compared to the previous year.
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The effects of this partnership approach are most evident in the town centre whereÂ thereÂ are now only 14Â knownÂ people begging and sleeping rough in the town centre '“Â it was 67 three months ago.
Taking a more preventive / problem solving approachÂ means demand for the police isÂ starting to reduce.
But we are also set to receive extra resources.
South Yorkshire Police is going to take on an extra 40 officers, and 20 of those are due to come to Doncaster.
Taking this together with the work we have done to reduce demand, I'm confident that we will be able to provide an improving service. We are starting 2019 in a healthier position that we have been for several years.
We have doubled the size of our neighbourhood teams, and 17 of the 20 new posts will be put into the neighbourhood teams. I'm hoping this will mean a more visible police presence, so we can tackle the problems that matter to people and allow us toÂ develop a trusting and engaging relationship with our communities.
The other three new officers will work with the prisons investigations team. We have started a new prison partnership board to work together with other organisations like theÂ Prisons,Â ProbationÂ Service and the Crown Prosecution Service. WeÂ will be trainingÂ prison service personnel in techniques such as crime scheme preservation and taking statements. This will provide great assistance to our staff and significantly increase the capacity we have to deal with the investigations and demand generated by the prisons.
Nine of the top 10 locations for crime have seen a substantial reduction in calls for the police. The only one that has not done is the Doncaster Royal Infirmary, and we are looking to create a bespoke way to address issues there. Discussions are ongoing.
Overall the structures we are developing will mean that the police take a moreÂ problem solvingÂ and preventativeÂ approachÂ toÂ tackling crimeÂ and this has started toÂ reduce demand. As our resources are also to increase for the first time in several years, I amÂ optimistic about the futureÂ and hope that we can increasingly deliver a good service for the people of Doncaster during the next twelve months..