Disappointment at lack of funding for undercover police to keep women safe in Sheffield

Disappointment has been expressed that a police bid to fund undercover cops to protect women on the streets of Sheffield at night was turned down.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:00 am

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£550,000 pledged to make woman and girls feel safer in South Yorkshire

The plan was for the officers to identify ‘predatory men’ who pose a risk to women.

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A crime scene on Carver Street, one of the busy streets in Sheffield at night

When the application was submitted, Mr Billings said: “The bid aims to provide a higher level of plain clothes and uniformed policing presence in Sheffield city centre on weekends to target predatory men and safeguard vulnerable women.”

He had already been successful recently in securing £550,000 to help make women and girls feel safer in public spaces.

That cash was awarded from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund, which was launched earlier this summer and made £23.5 million available to police forces and councils for projects to keep women and girls safe.

In South Yorkshire, most of the cash is to be spent on installing new lighting and CCTV within four parks – the Ponderosa in Upperthorpe, Sheffield; Clifton Park, Rotherham; Dearne Valley Park, Barnsley and Edenthorpe Park, Doncaster.

But extra police officers on the streets of Sheffield city centre would have been to provide women with added reassurances.

Mr Billings said at the time: “Making the streets a safer place for women and girls is a top priority for me...Everyone has a right to feel safe and to be safe in their communities...”

Following the unsuccessful bid, Mr Billings said: “We had bid to the Government’s ‘Safety of Women at Night Fund’ to provide a higher level of undercover and uniformed officers to patrol the city centre to identify anyone who poses a risk to women.

“Unfortunately on this occasion we were unsuccessful, which is disappointing but we must not forget that we have already secured over £2 million of funding for South Yorkshire in the recent Safer Streets funding rounds. That money is being spent to make our residents feel safer.

“I will be talking with South Yorkshire Police to see if we can provide any of the extra services within existing funding streams.”

Sheffield’s District Commander, Chief Superintendent Shelley Hemsley, who is responsible for the overall policing of Sheffield, said: “Of course it’s disappointing to not be successful in our latest bid, but our plans to make use of the funding that was granted in the previous Safer Streets round are now well underway and I am confident they will make a real difference.

“We are committed to listening to the views of those who live and work in Sheffield and using this money, we’ll be able to take meaningful steps towards making the city feel safer.”

Chf Supt Hemsley was recently appointed at Sheffield’s District Commander after her predecessor moved roles and then went on secondment to Cheshire Police as temporary Assistant Chief Constable.