OPINION: We’re all in it together

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News that South Yorkshire has the fifth highest crime rate in the country has been described as ‘challenging’ by the deputy chief constable of South Yorkshire Police.

We are constantly told that Sheffield is one of the safest cities in the country, but is that really still the case? Robbery is up 27 per cent, violent crime one per cent and the ‘Savile effect’ is being blamed for a rise in sexual offences, with more people coming forward after the Jimmy Savile investigation and other high-profile sex cases.

But offences including drugs crimes, thefts of motor vehicles, possession of weapons, criminal damage and arson are all down.

The latest figures show crime in the county actually fell three per last year – and that’s against a backdrop of harsh austerity measures imposed by central government.

Since 2009 the South Yorkshire force has saved £30million and like all other public services it is facing further staggering budget cuts – £50m over the next four years – which will mean 200 fewer police officers on the streets.

It’s amazing that crime has fallen at all. Police numbers have dropped, morale is low among rank-and-file officers and this week South Yorkshire Chief Constable David Crompton, said his officers were only spending 25 per cent of their time tackling crime because they are so busy ‘mopping up’ after other agencies facing financial pressures of their own and using the police as a ‘last resort’.

South Yorkshire’s crime rate is high enough – surely things are only going to get worse with the thin blue line getting thinner by the day?

But there is something everyone can do – and that is their bit to cut crime. The force is urging residents to ensure their homes and vehicles are secure and valuables are removed from cars.

It’s not rocket science – if you hide your sat nav and lock your house up you’ll be helping the police to keep next year’s statistics down.