Police and council join forces to help keep Barnsley town centre safe for visitors
Council and police staff have been welded into one new team to help keep Barnsley town centre safe in a dynamic new partnership between the organisations which will also see four new town centre wardens come into service from the Autumn.
The Joining Forces initiative will bring together at least 40 staff, working from the same base in the newly emerging Glass Works retail centre and is designed to help secure the £180m investment the council is making in regenerating the town centre by ensuring it is welcoming to visitors.
It will mean police officers, PCSOs, council enforcement staff and new wardens all working towards the same goals of ensuring visitors and potential visitors are not put off by the perception of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.
While some problems exist, Barnsley is regarded as one of the safest town centres in the region and the objective is to ensure visitors recognise the environment is safe.
The scheme has now been launched and will also see rookie police officers training on the streets around the town centre, something made possible by the current expansion of force.
During the austerity years, recruitment was halted and the tutor unit which used to operate in Barnsley was disbanded, taking more officers off the streets than just the reduction in the conventional headcount.
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Barnsley Council leader Sir Steve Houghton said: “We keep hearing that things happen which people don’t want to see and we have a responsibility to make sure that is not the case.
“The future of the town depends on people feeling happy and safe where they do their shopping and leisure activities.
“This would not have been possible without the co-operation of South Yorkshire Police and officers of the council working together to reflect public concern and to do something about it.”
Chief Insp Julie Mitchell said policing in the town centre was given a boost in 2016 when Barnsley Council put money in to providing a force of a five officers and seven PCSOs.
“We have been able to re-form our tutor unit, based here in the Glass Works. It is a fantastic opportunity to work with the council town centre team to support each other and make sure we make our town centre safer and a more pleasant place to visit,” she said.