‘Serious questions’ need to be asked of South Yorkshire Police after figures showed a surge in crime across Sheffield, a former council leader has said.
Lord Paul Scriven has called on police to explain why crime has increased by 8.2 per cent year on year, including rises in gun crime, assault, car theft and shoplifting.
The former Liberal Democrat leader of Sheffield Council said: “This is not good news for all of us living, visiting and working in Sheffield. Serious questions have to be asked about the senior team who manage the police officers on the front line who do a great job under difficult circumstances.
“The other person who needs to be held to account is the Police and Crime Commissioner. Despite his warm words he and the senior police management are not keeping us safer or making the best use of taxpayers’ money.”
The PCC has said the perceived increase in crime is actually a result of more people having the confidence to report issues.
A new Chief Constable, Stephen Watson, is due to join the force in November to replace David Crompton, who was suspended after the Hillsborough inquests.
The figures show the city centre had the most reported crimes between April 2013 and March 2016, at 15,066, an 11 per cent year-on-year increase.
Parson Cross was the highest outside the centre, with 4,069 crimes in three years and a 7.6 per cent surge, followed by Darnall with 2,885 crimes – a five per cent drop – and Handsworth with 2,640.
South Yorkshire Police Superintendent Shaun Morley said the issues in Parson Cross are being tackled by a new team.
He said: “We now have a tactical partnership group that works in Parson Cross. The results of that are starting to show; in the last three months we have seen a dramatic reduction in firearms and gang-related activity in these communities.
“Parson Cross is a large estate that has a number of economic and social challenges. The root of criminality is probably within those issues.
“It’s not purely a policing issue. We have to tackle the underlying issues with our partners – the local authority, education and health. Darnall is a good example.”
He said gangs and firearms are ‘priorities’ for the force.
He said: “The key issues going forward are around vulnerability and managing threat, harm and risk, whether that’s vulnerability as a result of gang-related activity or child sexual exploitation, or as a result of other serious, acquisitive crimes.
“The management of victims is also a real priority, and making sure we deliver an effective service.”
The force’s PCC Dr Alan Billings said increased confidence to report crime and improvements to reporting and recording of crime in the force have led to the increase.
He added: “I’m always cautious with yearly crime figures. You need to look over a longer period like a decade to see trends.
“I’m not convinced that what we are seeing is the start of a new trend.
“Sheffield is still safe and it has a reputation for being a safe city.”
Dr Billings added that the new chief will look at neighbourhood policing to ‘get it right’ after cuts to staff numbers at the force.
He said the force will also need to tackle new crimes in future.
“CSE used to manifest itself on the streets, but now is increasingly online. There is also cyber crime and online fraud. Going forward we need a more tech-savvy kind of policing.”
THE TOP 10 CRIME HOTSPOTS IN SHEFFIELD
1. City Centre - 15,066 crimes in total. 11% UP
2. Parson Cross - 4,069 in total. 7.59% UP
3. Darnall - 2,885 total. 4.8% DOWN
4. Handsworth - 2,640 total. 15% UP
5. Hillsborough - 2,625 in total. 6% DOWN
6. Highfield - 2,311 in total. 10.4 % UP
7. Gleadless Valley - 2,128 total. 2.6% UP
8. Woodhouse - 2,122 total. 32.8% UP
9. Attercliffe - 1,918 in total. 8% DOWN
10. Arbourthorne - 1,903 in total. 19.6% UP
Friday’s Star will have another three pages of EXCLUSIVE crime figures including the key types of crime that have gone up and down across Sheffield.