Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, spoke on Friday, 25 October about the future of policing to members of the Don Valley Constituency Labour Party in Kilham Community Hall, Branton.
Dr Billings pointed out that the constituency covered a big area – about 40% of Doncaster District – with villages and urban centres as diverse as Edlington, Tickhill, Thorne and Rossington. One of the three priorities of his Police and Crime Plan was that areas like this – with over 30 villages – received their fair share of police resources.
The Commissioner said: “We must ensure that resources are not unfairly concentrated in the big urban centres. The villages in Don Valley also have their issues.
“The increase in council tax precept this year is paying for an overall increase in police numbers of 50 with almost half going to the Doncaster District and the Government have subsequently promised a further uplift.
“This increase in police numbers over the next few years should mean greater police visibility in the former pit villages and the more rural areas.
“The increase in serious crime in recent years is often related to gangs and drugs and this is why we are re-opening the police station at Edlington and basing a new neighbourhood team there.
“When a spirit of hopelessness grips an area, young people can easily be discouraged and fall prey to the drug-dealing gangs who offer easy money.
“We must all work together to support whatever youth provision there is. I hope you will tell small groups in your community to apply to my small grants scheme for help.”