Calls for more police in city centre permanently - not just for one-off operations

A Sheffield councillor is calling for more police in the city centre ‘day in day out’ – not just for one-off events, operations or football matches.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 1:24 pm

Coun Ben Miskell spoke out today on the day armed police officers were on duty in the city centre, along with mounted officers, a police mobile CCTV van and officers on patrol.

It is thought that today’s police presence related to a police memorial event but Coun Miskell said increased policing is needed daily.

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Sheffield councillor Ben Miskell is calling for more police officers in Sheffield city centre

“It’s really positive to see an increased presence by South Yorkshire Police in the city centre. We now need to see this sustained over the next few months to provide reassurance to citizens after a spate of incidents. It can’t just be a high profile one-time operation,” he said.

“Each week we see an army of police officers dedicated to policing a small group of football hooligans. Making our city centre safe needs that level of priority and resourcing.

“The look of the city centre is set to improve, with the Heart Of The City 2 Development and a thriving Moor, alongside plans for Fargate. Citizens now need to be assured that it’s a safe place.”

He added: “We need to see an increased police presence in the city centre day in day out. If policing of a few football hooligans can be prioritised each week, we need to see a similar effort dedicated to making shoppers and city centre users feel safe everyday, not just on match days.

“When people speak to me, the number one issue they raise is safety in the city centre. There’s a general feeling amongst many citizens that it isn’t a safe space, especially after the number of recent high profile incidents. Whilst groups of drug users aren’t likely to be a threat to passers-by, people like my grandma would be scared to walk past them and it can be intimidating.

“We need to build confidence, so that people don’t think twice about visiting our city.

“There’s millions of investment going into the city centre and despite changes in retail due to Covid, the place is on the up. We also need to make sure that the area is sufficiently policed to provide community reassurance.”

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Former police officer Tim Nye, who now runs Marmadukes – a local chain of three eateries in Sheffield – recently spoke out and claimed the police service is no longer equipped to provide a service for what could be considered “low level crime”.

His damning comments came after he made a citizen’s arrest to apprehend a man who had plagued his and other businesses in the city without any police action being taken.

“I don’t doubt there are good cops doing a good job, but the city centre seems to have been abandoned by the police and retailers are now left to their own devices,” he said.

“The officers I’ve met seem completely overwhelmed and demoralised by the lack of resources.”

South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield City Council are joining forces to try to eradicate anti-social behaviour, drug taking, street drinking and rough sleeping.

It is hoped a multi-agency approach will help individuals address their issues long term and create a more welcoming city centre.

Sheffield Council has secured £3.26m in government funding to run the initiative.