Police called 850 times in two years to South Yorkshire hospitals

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SOUTH Yorkshire Police have been called out to deal with almost 850 crimes at hospitals in the last two years, new figures show.

Officers attended at least one incident per day in 2010 and 2011 - including serious crimes such as sexual assaults, grievous bodily harm and hundreds of thefts.

The numbers, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and published as part of The Star’s Your Right to Know Campaign, show police were called to Sheffield hospitals 430 times, Doncaster 178 times, Barnsley 126 times and Rotherham 111 times.

The more serious incidents include New Year’s Day 2011, when officers were called to Sheffield Children’s Hospital after reports someone had administered poison.

There were also 20 sexual assaults and one case of voyeurism reported.

Assaults resulting in grievous bodily harm happened seven times. Thefts by hospital staff were reported six times. There were also 30 burglaries, 66 offences of criminal damage, 22 drug-related incidents and 394 thefts.

There were 33 public order offences and 33 thefts from automatic machines and meters and 19 bicycles were stolen.

Crime at Sheffield hospitals peaked with 218 crimes in 2010, falling slightly to 212 last year.

Bosses at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, which runs the city’s five adult hospitals, said they are working with police to keep their sites safe.

Professor Hilary Chapman, chief nurse and chief operating officer at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are one of the largest and busiest groups of hospitals in the UK with more than 20,000 visitors each day. Despite this we have seen a fall in the number of criminal incidents, particularly those involving staff.

“We take safety of patients, visitors and staff very seriously. We invest in our own security measures which include CCTV and on-site security.

“We have robust training which encourages staff to report any crimes they witness.”

Last December The Star reported there had been 787 violent attacks at Sheffield’s adult hospitals and 86 at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital over a 12-month period.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals said there had been a 40 per cent reduction from 1,105 attacks the year before.