Policing stepped up in Doncaster as town tops county league table for gangs and guns

Police are pouring more resources into Doncaster in recognition of the town’s crime problems – with a councillor highlighting the fact it has more organised crime gangs than Sheffield, more serious criminals and more who have guns available.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 2:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 11:16 am
Dr Alan Billings
Dr Alan Billings

Big cities normally have more organised crime gangs than smaller towns, but South Yorkshire reverses that trend with Doncaster showing the highest numbers in all three categories, with information compiled through police intelligence.

The town has 162 criminals known to be involved in organised crime, compared to 128 in Sheffield and only 87 and 34 in Rotherham and Barnsley, respectively.

Gang numbers are highest in Doncaster at 14, with one less in Sheffield, ten in Rotherham and eight in Barnsley.

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In Doncaster, 11 of those are thought to have access to guns, compared to ten in Sheffield, five in Rotherham and four in Barnsley.

Coun Sue Wilkinson said: “Doncaster has half the population of Sheffield but it has more nominals, organised crime groups and firearms capable. Are resources shared properly?”

She was speaking at a meeting of South Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, the body made up of councillors and independent members which hold Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings to account.

Dr Billings said Doncaster had been “under-resourced” by police in the past, but that situation was being addressed, with the town to get half the 40 new neighbourhood officers being introduced in the county this year.

Other changes included the introduction of new police teams to work in Doncaster’s prisons, which are a source of crime and soak up police resources.

In terms of gangs, he told her: “I think police have a pretty good idea of who the people are, the core element, those on the periphery and those close to being drawn in.

“In Doncaster, you have a lot of things that come together, major motorways, the railway mainline, airport, the prisons.

“Prisoners are coming out of the gates. In theory, most have a plan for housing and finance. Others come out and have to get benefits and housing sorted. Sometimes, they stick in Doncaster.

“At least one crime gang has exported itself from Sheffield to Mexborough. A lot of work has been done to disrupt criminal activity, we know there has been some dispersing from Mexborough to elsewhere.

“There has been a real movement of resources towards Doncaster,” he said.