The South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings visited Penistone on Monday 19 January at the request of Penistone Mayor Steve Marsh.

Speaking to members of Penistone Town Council he discussed the future of neighbourhood policing in Penistone and the effects the reduction in government grants would have on local policing.

He said: “The cost of policing will need to be reduced because the grant provided by the government was being continually reduced.  This is making a big impact on how the police can deliver a service to communities, especially in rural areas.

“Response and neighbourhood teams are to be combined to reduce the costs of managing two separate teams, meaning all police officers would now be required to have a neighbourhood focus and spend more time out in the community.

Commissioner Billings was accompanied by the Safer Neighbourhood Area Inspector Julie Mitchell and assured councillors and residents of Penistone that there were no plans at present to close Penistone Police Station and that Police Community Support Officers would remain rooted in the neighbourhood.

He added: “South Yorkshire Police recently purchased a number of mobile devices to allow officers to access police systems in their police vehicles,  Having these hand held computers will enable officers to write reports on the spot without having to keep returning to the police station.  This therefore allows them to spend more of their time visible to residents.”