South Yorkshire Police report success at targeting gangs, drug dealers and armed criminals
Police chiefs in South Yorkshire have praised the work of specialist teams involved in tackling gangs, drugs and armed criminals.
New figures released this week show a three per cent reduction in overall crime in South Yorkshire but an increase in drug offences.
Police chiefs stress that the 25 per cent hike is down to proactive policing, with specialists teams cracking down on organised crime gangs, drug dealers and associated armed criminality.
There were 4,007 drug crimes recorded in South Yorkshire in the 12 months to September 2020 and 1,615 possession of weapon offences.
Dr Billings said: “While any fall in crime figures is to be welcomed, we do need to treat these figure with caution since for part of the year the country was in lockdown and many criminals were confined to home.
“Nevertheless I welcome falls in knife crimes, burglaries and theft in this period.
“A rise in certain recorded crimes, however, tells us something else. During this period South Yorkshire police have been very active tackling gangs and drugs – and this is reflected in the rise in recorded crimes for offences such as those related to drugs.”
He added: “If we are to see levels of crime brought down in South Yorkshire we need to restore the 500 police officers that were cut between 2010 and 2019 as a result of government cuts in grant. Among other things, that allowed criminal gangs to get established.”
South Yorkshire Police’s Deputy Chief Constable, Mark Roberts, said: “With such a significant change to our daily lives over this time, it comes as no great surprise that we have seen an overall drop in crime in South Yorkshire and across England and Wales, and reductions in a number of different crime types.
“What is heartening to see, however, is the continued increase in drug offences including trafficking and possession, and possession of weapons. That may seem like a strange thing to say - but the increases we have been seeing in this area are a result of our proactive work to target organised criminal groups and those involved in the supply of drugs.
“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, our work to crack down on those who bring misery to our communities has never stopped.
“In July 2020 we launched a dedicated Armed Crime Team and its officers have been achieving very encouraging results, with some significant prison sentences handed to those put before the courts. This is alongside the ongoing work by our Serious Violent Crime Taskforce and Operation Fortify Teams.
“Complemented by the community engagement and local knowledge of our Neighbourhood Policing Teams, people in South Yorkshire can be assured we are working hard to bring criminals to justice and ensure our county remains a safe place in which to live and work.
“As we all know, life has changed beyond recognition over the last year and the public health crisis is not over yet. However, our communities should be reassured that we remain on the frontline and continue to be there for those who need us.“We also know there is always more to be done. We are therefore currently undertaking our biggest recruitment drive in living memory, meaning our resources are being further bolstered to help us continue to tackle the issues which matter to you.”