OPINION: Focus on core service

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The warnings have been coming for some time but today South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner spells out clearly what may happen to the service the public can expect in the future from the county’s police.

The Reverend Dr Alan Billings says budget cuts may stop police dealing with neighbourhood disputes, carrying out welfare checks and policing football matches.

By 2017 South Yorkshire Police will have had to find savings of £74.5 million. And this week, the force finances took a turn for the worst when a Home Office grant to cover legal fees for police officers involved in the Hillsborough inquests had left a £6 million ‘shortfall’.

Amidst all the savings what the public really want to know is that the police will focus on preventing crime and cracking down on anti-social behaviour.

In some ways once a crime has been committed, for the victim at least, it is too late.

A visible, approachable presence in our communities is always preferable to a service that is reactionary and only seen when called upon.

We have no doubts that budget cuts don’t make life any easier for the police but the emphasis must be on crime prevention first and foremost.