Residents in Dinnington were this week given the opportunity to ask questions about policing in their area during an open discussion with the Rotherham South Neighbourhood Policing Team.
The meeting was organised by Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford and was attended by Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, and members of the Neighbourhood Policing Team.
Around 40 members of the public were also in attendance and were invited to submit questions about the policing of Dinnington and other areas.
Issues discussed included the visibility and accessibility of the Rotherham South Neighbourhood Policing Team and how officers can be available to engage with local residents about issues.
The team assured residents that they have a growing presence in the area and that whilst patrols had continued throughout Covid, the team are now keen to return to increased face-to-face engagements as the restrictions lift. They also offered to attend local parish and town council meetings to discuss issues of concern and talk about policing and crime issues.
Dr Billings said that as well as taking advantage of extra officers that the government was committed to support, he was also using local resources to go beyond this. By 2024 there would be an additional 220 officers funded this way across South Yorkshire.
Residents also raised concerns about how the police could be contacted. T/Chief Inspector Mark Goddard said that there were many ways this could be done – there was 101, using the call-back facility if the caller did not want to wait on the line; email; or webchats through an on-line facility.
Officers had a bigger presence in the community than many seemed to think. As well as the dedicated neighbourhood officers there were also response police officers and specialist teams who came as and when required. These included the off road bike team, roads policing, dog handlers and mounted officers.
Other issues raised included youth nuisance and anti-social behaviour in the Anston area.
Dr Alan Billings, said: “This was a really good meeting where residents were able to ask questions of their local officers and myself about the policing of their area.
“I was also able to say something about the grants of up to £20,000 that are now available through the Violence Reduction Unit. These are for community and voluntary groups and schools in the area for projects that would help to give young people purposive activities and keep them away from crime and anti-social behaviour.
“It is always good to hear direct from residents about the issues that directly affect them. But I was also pleased to hear from residents who have had some very positive experiences and appreciate the work that is undertaken by officers to keep them safe.”