Safety base for neighbourhood

A GRAND plan to combat yobs in Barnsley has come to fruition with the opening of the ninth and final Safer Neighbourhood Team base.

Tuesday, 25th September 2007, 2:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th September 2007, 10:04 am

From the end of this week the 10 officer Darton and Dodworth SNT will occupy a house at 7 Blacker Road, Mapplewell, which is right in the middle of its patch.

The move comes after the SNT - made up of police and council officers - spent the last eight months operating out of police stations in Barnsley and Kendray - up to half-an-hour’s drive from its area.

Paul Brannan, boss of the Neighbourhood Safety Unit, said that because it was now based in the heart of the community it served, response times would drop.

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Officers would be able to perform longer patrols, providing more visible reassurance for residents.

The launch of the new base completes the strategy of having nine SNTs in their own bases in the borough’s nine areas.

Barnsley was the first place in the country to trial SNTs when four were established three years ago. They pioneered the use of police and council officers pooling resources and working side-by-side in the community.

Now SNTs are firmly established on the frontline in the battle against yobs.

The nine teams employ about 150 staff including 42 PCs, 65 community support officers, 24 special constables, 12 trainee police officers, 31 wardens, eight tasking officers and sergeants and inspectors.

Mr Brannan said: “I’m pleased we have seen the completion of the vision of having nine SNTs in nine different bases. People are continually saying they want to become familiar with the people responsible for their safety. They want to see them on foot in their neighbourhoods.

“The figures do seem to be bearing this out, including fear of crime which is important to us. Perception is a big part of what we have got to deal with.

“We’ve still got untapped demand and great expectations from the public. We have some way to go to develop work with schools and young people, but I feel we have moved a long way.”

The changes to policing are already reaping rewards.

In August, it was revealed that overall crime in Barnsley dropped by nine per cent in the previous 12 months. Thefts were down 18.7 per cent and domestic burglaries fell 32 per cent.

Meanwhile, criminal damage was down 16.5 per cent and vehicle thefts dropped 24 per cent.

But officials have an uphill battle - those who said they felt unsafe outside after dark rose from 30 to 35 per cent in the last year.