Christmas messages: South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable praises community spirit during pandemic

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South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Lauren Poultney has written this special Christmas message for The Star, following a challenging year.

Christmas is now upon us and we are entering what is traditionally one of the busiest periods of the year for policing

In May this year in my interview for the role of Chief Constable I was asked to talk about how South Yorkshire Police would evolve in the post-pandemic period.

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I think it is fair to say that we are not yet in the post-pandemic period we all hoped would be the case by now, and indeed with the current challenges of the Omicron variant it is likely that Christmas this year will be different to what people were hoping and planning for.

South Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable Lauren Poultney has delivered a Christmas message to readers of The StarSouth Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable Lauren Poultney has delivered a Christmas message to readers of The Star
South Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable Lauren Poultney has delivered a Christmas message to readers of The Star

The officers and staff of South Yorkshire Police have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic, and this will continue throughout the Christmas period and beyond. It is appropriate that I take the opportunity this column affords me to publicly thank them for their professionalism and hard work.

Part of my response in interview was to talk about the public of South Yorkshire, how you had complied with legislation, taken advice and acted collectively, how community spirit had risen to the surface and the acts of kindness that were taking place across our communities.

I would like to say thank you for this here too, thank you for doing the right thing and for working with us as we navigated our way through a rapidly changing picture.

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I believe community spirit, being invested in your locality and looking out for your neighbours will enable communities not only to recover from the impact of the pandemic, but to thrive.

It’s particularly important for those acts of kindness to continue over Christmas. A check on a neighbour who lives alone could make all the difference to them.

I am looking forward to continuing to work with you through our neighbourhood teams and our partners, tackling the issues that matter the most to you locally. My commitment to neighbourhood policing is steadfast. I know it makes a difference.

Over recent years, South Yorkshire Police has made significant progress. We are concentrating now on embedding this progress. This will ensure we are in the best possible position for future developments and challenges.

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Our police officer number grew by 179 this year, and it will continue to grow over the next two years as we welcome more new officers into the force.

Each new officer undergoes extensive training so it does take some time to feel the benefit of increased numbers but the investment in their training means the maximum impact for the public.

Police officers can face anything at work, so the investment in their training and support is essential to ensure they are equipped to deal with whatever they face.

We will be continuing to recruit throughout 2022, so if your new year’s resolution is to find an exciting, challenging and rewarding career then do please consider us!

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Some of our recent progress includes a tangible impact on knife and gang related crime. The Armed Crime Team has targeted those causing the most harm to our communities. This has seen some significant prison sentences being handed out and many other cases progressing through the courts.

We’ve also appointed a strategic lead for our work in tackling the crimes which disproportionately affect women and girls. The national framework for this was launched this month, and we are now implementing the delivery of this, I look forward to bringing you more detail on this.

Whilst there is a focus on violence against women and girls, this does not mean other offences or male victim groups are being ignored. Our aim is to create a safe environment for all, enabling local people, communities and businesses to thrive.

I hope you each have a happy, healthy and safe Christmas.