The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) took advantage of government funding to increase police numbers in the next financial year by 149. But in addition he committed local resources to add a further 79. This means that in the financial year April 2021 to March 2022 police numbers in South Yorkshire will rise by 228.
Dr Alan Billings said: “For ten years South Yorkshire faced cuts in grant and police numbers year on year.
“We lost 500 officers. During that time organised crime gangs expanded their drug dealing activities in the county and we saw a gradual rise in serious violence
“Home Secretaries said that there was no relationship between crime and police numbers.
“That was a serious mistake and the commitment to restore the 20,000 officers that were lost nationally during that time is an acknowledgement of that.
“However, it is not enough to restore the cuts. The nature of crime has changed and we need more officers, not least in neighbourhood teams and in investigative capacity.
“This budget and precept means that for an additional 20p per week per household I can give the force the resources it needs to get on top of crime and anti-social behaviour.
“Put simply, there will be more high visibility jackets on the streets of South Yorkshire.”
The budget will also enable the PCC to fund services to victims of crime. However, the force will still have to make savings of £2.5m and £5.8m of reserves will be used to make the books balance.
The PCC continued: “Six years ago, Her Majesty’s inspectors said that South Yorkshire Police ‘needed improvement’. Last year the force was rated ‘good’ overall and ‘outstanding’ for its ethical leadership. This budget will allow that momentum of steady improvement to be maintained.”
The budget and precept increase was approved unanimously earlier this month by all the political parties and the two independent members represented on the Police and Crime Panel, by the Leaders of the four District councils – Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster – and by the public in a recent on-line survey.
The public of South Yorkshire were invited to have their say on the proposals during online consultation during December and January. The survey received 2,160 responses, of which over two thirds said they would be willing to pay the maximum increase.
Respondents also indicated that they do expect to see a more visible police presence within local communities and they would like to see the Force focus on priority areas of tackling serious violence and gang activity and tackling neighbourhood crime – including anti-social behaviour, burglary and vehicle related criminality.
This budget will allow for the increase in officer numbers that will be able to provide that visible presence and focus on tackling those priority areas within communities.
The increased precept will mean that households will incur the following small weekly increase within their council tax, according to their council tax band:
Band A 19p (57.5% of properties in SY are in Band A)
Band B 22p (17%)
Band C 26p (12.3%)
Band D 29p (7.1%)
Band E 36p (3.6%)
Band F 42p (1.6%)
Band G 48p (0.8%)
Band H 58p (0.1%)