New police boss reveals the six biggest safety concerns in Sheffield city centre
The city centre policing team in Sheffield has a new boss at the helm.
Inspector Ali Bywater takes on her new role today after working for South Yorkshire Police for 17 years.
She has previously worked as a response officer deployed to emergencies and in neighbourhood and training roles.
Insp Bywater said neighbourhood policing and long-term problem solving are what she is most passionate about.
She will work alongside one sergeant, 11 police constables and five PCSOs and will have responsibility for policing the city centre and shopping areas as well as Wicker, Kelham Island and Highfields.
Insp Bywater said: “Now, more than ever, it is important that our city centre is a safe place to be. Last year saw huge changes to how we live our lives, which has continued into the New Year with the latest lockdown, but places like Fargate, The Moor and Kelham Island will hopefully soon open for business again.
“It is my team’s job to support the people who work in the city centre, as well as those who visit.
“I know there are concerns about spice users, begging and anti-social behaviour. We will be creating a new patrol plan to look at these issues and joining with partners to tackle them.
“A dedicated plan is now in place around commercial burglary, there are a lot of empty premises and I want businesses to feel confident that we are protecting them.”
Violence and sexual exploitation are also issues that Inspector Bywater is keen to focus on as well as retail crime.
She added: “For me to best understand what you want from your policing team in the city centre, I need to hear from you.
“I know that my officers already have some fantastic links with businesses and residents’ groups, but we can always do better.
“There are lots of ways you can contact us directly and I’d encourage you to do so, I’ll be upping our social media game – and whilst you can’t report crimes there, you can tell me about things that are bothering you.
“Whilst we’re very much still boots on the ground, I know that the way we’re all communicating is increasingly online. If there are any meetings, forums or events you think I need to be involved in, let me know.”