South Yorkshire Police has today announced the future design of neighbourhood policing across the county.
The new neighbourhood policing model will see police officer numbers increased by 73 across South Yorkshire, with an additional 13 sergeants and 60 police constables being brought in to enhance neighbourhood teams. These positions are in addition to the 30 police officer roles that the force has already pledged to place in to its neighbourhood functions later this year, bringing the total number of additional officers going in to neighbourhoods to 103.
The latest increase in police officer presence in neighbourhoods has been made possible following a recent review of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). The outcome of the review will see a return to the core role of a PCSO in terms of engagement, reassurance and gathering local community intelligence, and a change in shift patterns to Monday – Saturday working with some early evening hours. In addition to this, the number of PCSO posts in the function will reduce over a period of time by 101, however due to current vacancies in these PCSO posts 78 will be reduced. No PCSOs will be made redundant to achieve these numbers. PCSO posts totalling 116 will remain in neighbourhood functions.
Assistant Chief Constable David Hartley, Force Lead for neighbourhood policing, said: “What we have learned from the PCSO review is that PCSOs were being used for issues that they weren’t initially intended for and they are being used in many different ways across the force. The public consultation we have held suggests that the public want most of our neighbourhood teams to undertake work that requires them to have warranted powers. PCSOs do not have the powers needed to undertake many of this activity, therefore the workforce balance on neighbourhood teams wasn’t right.
“We have had to make some difficult decisions, but it’s clear what the public want. The reduction in PCSO posts, and the change to their working hours, will allow us to invest in 73 warranted police officers in our neighbourhoods. These officers will be able to provide cover 24 hours a day, to address the local issues that matter most, provide a wider depth of problem solving capabilities and to reassure the public in their local communities through resolution and enforcement where necessary.”
The changes to neighbourhood policing in South Yorkshire will not be implemented immediately, and a detailed plan on how best to manage the implementation will be created, which will allow time for the additional police officers to be trained fully.
Alongside this plan, engagement with local partners will take place to create the detailed design of the service in each district, to ensure that the new offer is tailored to meet the demands in each local community.
ACC Hartley continues: “We know that this change cannot happen overnight, and we will look to ensure that we have resilience in our neighbourhoods before any changes are made. We are confident that, when the changes are fully implemented, we will have a neighbourhood policing service that delivers what you want us to deliver – an outstanding service to our communities.”