South Yorkshire Police awarded £6m to improve problem solving and reduce demand on officers and partners

South Yorkshire Police is leading a 6m project
South Yorkshire Police is leading a 6m project

South Yorkshire Police has been awarded £6.35 million to lead a project aimed at improving problem solving and reducing demand on officers and partners.

The Home Office funding, granted at the end of last year, is for a three-year project to help transform ways of working across the police at a local, regional and national level.

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Work undertaken so far includes the use of an IT system by South Yorkshire Police, Humberside Police and local authorities to enable the sharing of information on victims, offenders and locations for the first time.

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A national 'knowledge hub' has also been set up to share best practice around problem solving and demand reduction amongst police forces

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Chief Constable Stephen Watson, of South Yorkshire Police, said: "We are delighted to have received this funding from the Police Transformation Fund.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for South Yorkshire Police to embed itself into the national policing picture as a lead for problem solving and demand reduction, and with myself holding the portfolio for crime prevention on behalf of the National Police Chief’s Council, I am confident that we will cement ourselves as UK leaders in this field.

"The programme team will develop an understanding of the prevention and problem solving knowledge and tools the police service currently uses, and those it requires in order to support the fundamental aim of the police, which is to make our communities safer."

He added: "The team will also look into the standards required in this area, and will review academic evidence and the work of other sectors involved in prevention and problem solving. Knowledge and tools will be tested, before being evaluated and shared locally, regionally and nationally.

"As well as working with fellow forces, we will work in partnership with a number of others to deliver best practice solutions, including international problem solving experts, blue light partners and stakeholders such as Neighbourhood Watch, the NHS and University researchers."

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "This is a very significant moment for South Yorkshire Police. This funding gives them a unique opportunity to design ways of working with local authorities, Neighbourhood Watch, the NHS, the universities and others that will put them at the forefront of tackling crime for the whole of the United Kingdom. The knowledge and expertise that will be developed here will be shared across the country.

"All forces are having to come to terms with a rapidly changing situation as the demand on the service increases but the resources available do not. Crime is changing as cyber crime, domestic abuse and human trafficking grow in significance. At the same time, new ways have to be found to reinforce neighbourhood policing with fewer officers.

"South Yorkshire Police now have the opportunity to research, plan, test and develop a first-class model of policing that will shape how they and other forces face the new challenges for years to come."