Column: Plan will help give direction

Chief Constable Stephen Watson South Yorkshire Police
Chief Constable Stephen Watson South Yorkshire Police
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Work continues at pace in developing a strategic plan, which will clearly outline our priorities, objectives and organisational values.

This plan will provide South Yorkshire Police focus and direction while influencing every aspect of what we do and how we do it. It will shape our strategy in engaging with the public, influence how we work with our partners and guide our neighbourhood policing model.

This is a critical piece of work. However, I intend it to be completed as swiftly as possible and will continue to provide updates as it progresses.

Recently, I took part in a Question Time event hosted by the Star and Radio Sheffield, and attended by a number of community groups and organisations. There were some difficult questions, but I wholly believe that as a public service we must listen to the communities we serve and try to address the issues you raise.

You may have seen in the news or on social media recently the deployment of a large number of police officers, along with our partners in Barnsley.

Operation Duxford involved a large number of police officers, members of Barnsley Council, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, HMRC, Immigration and officers from the National Crime Agency.

In addition, 14 warrants were executed, 10 persons arrested, 76 cannabis plants located, stolen property recovered and vehicles seized.

I have requested Operation Duxford to take place throughout the county to ensure we continue to deal proactively with crime while making our communities feel safer.

I would like to commend DI Jon Cousins and his team for their work on Kos in the search for Ben Needham.

I thank the staff involved for both their tireless endeavours and in their continued support of Kerry and the Needham family.

Also, since my last column, eight men have been convicted of multiple Child Sexual Exploitation offences against three young girls in Rotherham between 1999 and 2003.

The verdicts have been the culmination of extensive investigative enquiries by South Yorkshire Police, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and the Crown Prosecution Service.

I hope this case provides encouragement to any further victims of child sexual exploitation who have not as yet contacted us, to get in touch, knowing that they will be listened to, believed and any offences fully investigated.