Dr Alan Billings, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, and Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, District Commander for Rotherham, were guest speakers at a packed meeting of the Rother Valley South Area Assembly in Woodsetts Village Hall. They were welcomed by the chair, Councillor Jenny Whysall.

During questions from the audience, the Commissioner was asked about the future of Police Community Support Officers and neighbourhood policing.

Dr Billings said:  “’I am fully committed to retaining neighbourhood policing, despite having fewer officers because of funding cuts.

“Two things makes this possible. First, police officers are being equipped with hand-held computers to write up their reports. They will not have to keep travelling backwards and forwards to a police station, so they can stay longer in the community. We are now looking for places where they can drop in for a break – like community halls or cafes – to complete reports and get a cup of tea.

“Second, we will retain Police Community Support Officers. They are based in communities and get to know them well. They are the eyes and ears of South Yorkshire Police. There will be 225 PCSOs in the next financial year and I would plan to keep that number constant for the duration of the present parliament.’

Chief Superintendent Harwin was asked about the future of Dinnington Police Station.

He said:  “Ideally we don’t want to close any stations.  However, financially it doesn’t make sense for Dinnington to remain open.  We recognise the importance of a visible location in Dinnington and as such we are looking to locate an office in the Resource Centre. This will be badged and used not only by the PCSOs when on patrol but also police officers from the Local Policing Teams”.