Police watchdog body accepts a “compromise” over additional officers after demanding more

Councillors who monitor the work of South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner now accept the 55 new officers to be recruited by the county’s force over the next year are an “acceptable compromise” – after initially asking for more.

Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 9:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 6:34 pm
Expanding: New officers coming to South Yorkshire Police

PCC Dr Alan Billings worked with Chief Constable Stephen Watson to find the cash to pay for additional police in a turn-around which begins to reverse years of a shrinking police service.

Forty of the new staff have been allocated to work on the neighbourhood teams, which have proved highly successful since they were introduced over the last two years.

However, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, a watchdog body made up largely of councillors from the county’s four district councils, asked Dr Billings to look again at his spending plans, citing 90 new officers as their target.

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That was rejected on the grounds it would mean cutting over vital elements of the service and Dr Billings’ original budget has been approved.

Chairman of the panel, Coun Abdul Khayum, said: “The panel very much look forward to continuing to work with the commissioner in a positive way to support his role, but also to fulfil our statutory duties to hold him to account on behalf of our constituents”.

Vice-chairman, Coun Stuart Sansome, added: “What members also wanted to see was more officers in our communities. We felt we came to an acceptable compromise in approving the budget.”