Disabled man threatened with knife on West Street, Sheffield, backs officers over city centre policing

Disabled Peter Butterworth had spoken out over the abuse and threats he suffered in Sheffield city centre.

Thursday, 14th April 2022, 3:58 pm

But today he backed the police in their efforts to deal with the problems after a meeting with senior officers and police commissioner Alan Billings in the town centre.

Mr Butterworth joined them to show them the problems he has faced – including being threatened with a knife by an aggressive beggar on West Street.

He had previously said he had not been happy with the response he got from police on that occasion.

Disabled Peter Butterworth was threatened by a mugger with a knife on West Street in Sheffield - but today he has backed the efforts of South Yorkshire Police in the town in the face of limited resources.

Officers offered to meet him after The Star contacted them about the problems he had faced on the streets.

And after they outlined plans to work alongside social services to try to tackle the problem, and to offer aggressive beggars an alternative to their current lifestyles, he said he understood the difficulties police faced dealing with antisocial behaviour in the town centre with the limited numbers and resources they had available.

Former security guard Mr Butterworth, who uses a mobility scooter, said: “Following various articles appearing in The Star a face to face meeting with Dr Billings, his liaison officer and two uniformed officers, whose duties cover the city centre, among other issues, was arranged.

“We all met at the corner of Surrey Street, Fargate. The meeting was interesting and productive, various issues and points were raised by all present.

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"It became clear to me that lack of finances plays a large part in limiting the police to be as effective as they would like.

"Dr Billings made it clear that there are a lot of workforce changes in progress, which should result in a more productive police force when it comes to tackling crime, and also help public confidence.

"On a personal level I have felt cynical about the police, but given the insight from this meeting I feel less so, when it becomes clear just what they are up against, and the lack of funds.

"I know this might sound corny, but if you see police about, say hello, they are only human. Stop and think, what would we do if the police didn’t exist.”