South Yorkshire Police officers to get extra duties to save cash

Police on patrol in Sheffield
Police on patrol in Sheffield
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Police officers in South Yorkshire will be expected take on more duties as budget cuts continue to bite.

New figures released by South Yorkshire Police last week revealed that crime went up by 1.5 per cent last year, with 92,797 offences logged between July 2013 and June 2014.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt said there was an ‘increased demand on the force to do more with less’.

“It is going to be a real challenge,” he said. “We are not going to stop investigating crimes but we need to be more effective about how we do that investigation.

“We send a lot of people to burglaries, for example - someone to take an initial report, then crime scene investigation, and then there is a detailed investigation.

“We want to try to upskill our staff so we are able to do more in one hit. If we manage that, we will see some efficiencies.”

DCC Holt said police chiefs are touring the county talking to bobbies about ‘the scale of the challenge around the budget’.

Neil Bowles, chairman of the South Yorkshire branch of the Police Federation, said: “All officers attending crime scenes are already trained to be forensically aware and identify possible sources of forensics evidence.

“They then have to preserve this possible evidence for a specialist forensics investigator to examine. The latter are nearly all police staff members and are regionalised, they are highly skilled at their jobs, and I would not wish to see their numbers fall.

“Before civilianisation we had specialist warranted officers fulfilling the role.

“Is the force considering the amount of training and equipment required for all officers to take on this role?

“It may avoid duplicate visits, but there was a reason for the development of this specialist skill area in the first place – to obtain the best evidence possible to present at court.”