South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, spoke at a meeting of the Burngreave Ashram, Spital Hill, Sheffield on Sunday, 3 May.

He said that the general election campaign had produced little intelligent discussion about the impact the cuts were having on policing and this was disappointing.

Dr Billings said: “Recorded crime has been falling for many years. This has led politicians to think they can go on cutting police numbers, because it doesn’t seem to affect crime figures.  But policing is not just about crime. In fact, eighty percent of what police officers do is not crime related.”

He went on to describe the many different activities that police are involved in, such as resolving neighbour disputes, managing low level anti-social behaviour, crowd control and searching for missing persons. But the number of officers available for these non-crime matters was falling year on year and this was bound to affect the communities the police served.

He said: “I hope the new government will think more carefully about these issues which affect the quality of life just as much as crime.”