South Yorkshire Police calls for Government cash to deal with aftermath of 'past mistakes'

Dr Alan Billings
Dr Alan Billings

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner has called for Government cash to help the force deal with the aftermath of past mistakes.

Dr Alan Billings said today that South Yorkshire Police needs a Home Secretary who will allow the force to 'operate on a level playing field' with others and not to be 'financially hamstrung by the past'.

The force budget for the next financial year is to be set over the next few months, with Dr Billings warning that every force in the country 'will probably have to make savings' because of a reduction in Government funding.

But he said South Yorkshire Police needs to find additional savings to pay for compensation payouts relating to the Hillsborough disaster and the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham.

Claims have been made following the deaths of 96 Liverpool FC fans in a crush at Hillsborough Football Stadium in April 1989, caused in part by police errors.

And victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, who feel they were let down by South Yorkshire Police, are also suing the force.

A report in 2014 found that 1,400 children were abused by men of predominantly Pakistani heritage while those in authority failed to act.

South Yorkshire Police is also funding the investigation of historic child sexual exploitation, with a team of 200 detectives and investigators involved and which the force expects to cost 'millions of pounds'.

The force has also spent millions on legal bills relating to the Hillsborough disaster.

Dr Billings said: "Every force in the country will probably have to make savings because the money the government allocates for policing plus the money from local council tax will fall a

long way short of what forces need.

“But in South Yorkshire we have to find additional savings because some of our money has to be used to finance the costs of those past mistakes - Hillsborough and Rotherham CSE.

"Those who lost loved ones at Hillsborough or were not helped while being sexually abused as children, are pursuing claims for compensation.

"The need to find the perpetrators of non-recent child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has resulted in the biggest investigation of its kind in the country with almost 200 detectives and investigators. All this will costs millions of pounds - money that will not be available for normal policing.

"Without special government grant we could be in a very serious situation. So we need a Home Secretary who will want to see South Yorkshire Police operate on at least a level playing field and not be financially hamstrung by the past."