Penny plan aims to protect South Yorkshire Police

Police operation to tackle the problem of prostitution in Doncaster, Sgt Steve Butler and Pc Jane Keightley patrolling along Thorne Road: Picture by Michael Ford
Police operation to tackle the problem of prostitution in Doncaster, Sgt Steve Butler and Pc Jane Keightley patrolling along Thorne Road: Picture by Michael Ford
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SOUTH Yorkshire’s new police and crime commissioner is asking residents to pay a few more coppers to help keep coppers on the streets.

Shaun Wright, who was elected to the post in November, plans to ask for an extra 1p a day from residents in their council tax precept in the face of budget cuts imposed by the Government.

A blanket 20 per cent cut in police funding has left South Yorkshire Police needing to save £43 million between 2011 and 2015 as 80 per cent of its funding comes from central Government, compared to some more affluent counties whose force’s get more from council tax payments.

The Government funding formula looks at demographics and deprivation when assessing which areas need most cash.

As South Yorkshire is heavily reliant on Government cash, its force is hit hard by the 20 per cent cut.

Mr Wright said an extra 1p a day from South Yorkshire residents will generate enough cash for him to replace 60 ageing police officers set to retire from the force this year, in a bid to preserve frontline bobbies.

His force has lost 215 officers since 2010, but Mr Wright said he is committed to preserving numbers.

He said: “While the function of any police budget is to ensure best value for money for taxpayers, my budget will allow the force to deliver greater police visibility and one that leads to a decrease in criminal activity.

“I recognise people want to see a greater police presence and to know not only petty crime but also serious and organised criminal activity is efficiently and effectively reduced.

“It is exasperating that since the Government came to power, £43 million will be taken away from policing in South Yorkshire and, while others might be content with a ‘make do’ stance, I intend to seek ways of wringing as much value for money as I can from every single £1 we spend.

“It is unacceptable an area such as South Yorkshire, with its own unique problems on the back of deprivation caused by the severe employment losses in the economy over past years, should be compared by the Government to the rural heartlands of Southern England in terms of crime.

“Rather than just sit back and complain, it is my intention to ‘get out there and get on with it’.

“One of my priorities is to work closely with agencies and other organisations that also deal with criminal activities.

“Not only will this develop better relationships but is the best way to make most efficient use of the limited resources we have.

“I will do all in my power to ensure we have a fully-accountable police service that has the necessary resources to combat crime.”

Policing in numbers:

Percentage cut in South Yorkshire Police’s funding from the Government - 20

Amount of money South Yorkshire Police has to save due to budget cuts - £43m

Decline in number of South Yorkshire Police officers since 2010 - 215

What should the commissioner’s priorities be? Email: letters@thestar.co.uk