50,000 fewer offences as police numbers fall

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POLICE chiefs in South Yorkshire say they are winning the war against crime, with offences falling nearly 50,000 over the past five years.

In 2007, the number of crimes recorded by South Yorkshire Police stood at 150,843, but last year the figure had dropped by nearly half to 102,145 - a reduction of 48 per cent and 48,698 offences.

And so far this year, for the period between yesterday and April last year, crimes are down by more than 2,000 compared to the same period the year before.

The reduction has come despite the number of officers employed by the force dropping over recent years, with bosses vowing to try to make the best use of resources available to maintain the reduction in crime on the city’s streets.

Chief Superintendent Rob Odell, head of South Yorkshire Police’s criminal justice administration department, said: “Figures show crime in South Yorkshire is down year on year and recorded crime in the county is at its lowest for 22 years.

“Crime statistics are a useful performance indicator, but we know what’s most important – the people who live and work in South Yorkshire – and we’re committed to organising our officers and staff in the most efficient way to deliver the best possible service.”

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Bob Sanderson said crime is down in most categories this year, apart from house burglaries, theft and shoplifting.

But he said plans are being drafted to tackle the areas in the hope of driving them down.

Mr Sanderson said: “We are pleased with the continuing downward trend, but realise that, over the next few months, there will be challenges ahead - a reducing number of officers, having to send officers elsewhere in the country for the Olympic Games.

“We are just going to have to work harder and smarter and with our partners more to continue this downward trend, but I am confident we will seen an overall reduction again.”

Figures disclosed to The Star reveal the amount spent on employing police officers in South Yorkshire has dropped by more than £8.5 million over the last four years.

South Yorkshire Police spent £105,703,868.55 on police officer salaries four years ago, compared to £96,593,099.73 last year.

Figures show the amount spent on police officer salaries has reduced for each rank of officer - constable, sergeant, inspector, chief inspector and superintendent - in line with the decreasing number of bobbies employed by the force.

There were 3,045 employed in the 2008/9 financial year compared to 2,845 currently in post.