SHEFFIELD’S proud reputation as the Steel City not the ‘steal city’ has been credited for the peaceful response to rioting wreaking havoc across Britain.
While yobs in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham robbed, burned and looted, families in the city centre yesterday safely enjoyed traditional fun and fairground attractions as the sun shone on the Sheffield by the Sea event in the Peace Gardens.
South Yorkshire Police assistant chief constable Andy Holt said: “The people of South Yorkshire have been fantastic.”
And Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore said the city’s peaceable response came about due to its “unique identity and sense of community spirit” of which residents are rightly proud.
On social networking sites - condemned for being used to promote dissent elsewhere - Sheffield folk spoke of their respect for the city.
“Sheffield is too smart to riot and destroy its own communities,” said one poster. Others wrote: “Proud to be from Sheffield - one of the largest cities that has not seen violent riots”, and: “Sheffield is now the largest riot-free city in the country. So proud - stay strong, people, and keep our city beautiful.”
Coun Dore told The Star: “We are not complacent, and we still have emergency plan procedures to follow if necessary, although I hope they will not be needed. If they are I am reassured and confident we can respond to any incident.”
As of yesterday the only specific riot response in Sheffield had been extra high visibility patrols and additional flights by the force helicopter - ordered by police chiefs both as a deterrent and a reassurance.
Officers spent another day monitoring social networking sites to look for messages inciting violence, but as of yesterday police had not had to make any arrests.
Via Twitter, police chiefs wrote: “South Yorkshire Police’s message to anyone considering causing disruption is don’t. The force will respond in a robust and appropriate manner.”
South Yorkshire Police bosses have now agreed to send officers to London, Manchester and Nottingham to help overstretched forces cope. Bobbies on annual leave here have been asked to cancel time off - but bosses stressed there are still “plenty” of officers available.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt said: “There has been no serious disorder here. Parents are taking responsibility for their children in South Yorkshire, which is heartening to see.”
Sheffield MP Clive Betts added: “We have good community relations in Sheffield which stand us in good stead at times like this. People are proud of their communities.”