Survey reveals lack of confidence in South Yorkshire Police

Police officers on patrol
Police officers on patrol
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A survey has revealed a lack of confidence in South Yorkshire Police, with almost half of those questioned admitting they have no confidence in the force or policing of local communities.

Out of 736 people who completed the survey, 357 admitted lacking confidence in the force as a whole and 350 said they lacked confidence in local policing.

The child sexual exploitation scandal was one of the reasons given for the lack of confidence by 462 people questioned.

A report published in 2014 revealed that 1,400 children were abused by men of largely Pakistani heritage while authorities, including South Yorkshire Police, failed to act.

They survey also revealed that the Hillsborough Disaster and the Battle of Orgreave had knocked confidence.

Inquests into the deaths of 96 football fans who died after a mass crush at Hillsborough football stadium in 1989 ruled that they were unlawfully killed and that police errors had 'caused or contributed' to the disaster.

Verdicts of accidental death were initially given at the end of original inquests in 1991, but they were in 2012 after a Hillsborough Independent Panel report concluded that a major cover-up had taken place in an effort by the police and others to avoid blame for what happened.

The Battle of Orgreave was a violent clash between thousands of police officers and picketing miners at the Orgreave coking plant, between Rotherham and Sheffield, during the national miners strike in 1984.

Dozens of miners were arrested and charged over the clash but their cases collapsed at court when police evidence was deemed unreliable.

The survey, commissioned by South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, was conducted last year to help him assess the priorities of the public when he drew up his police and crime plan.

They results were released under the Freedom of Information Act.

South Yorkshire Police said the force has worked hard to improve confidence levels since the survey was conducted.

A force spokeswoman said: "We are aware that there has been an issue with public confidence in South Yorkshire Police, and we recognise people’s concerns.

“However, this survey was carried out by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner last autumn, and since then we have been working hard to improve the service that we provide to the public.

“For example, we know that our neighbourhood policing has not been as strong as it should be and that this is a cause for concern among our communities. To address this, we have started a neighbourhood policing review, and as part of this review our Chief Constable Stephen Watson has been out and about across South Yorkshire, talking to people about the service we currently provide and gathering their views.

"The information we gather will inform changes to our neighbourhood policing model, so that we can create a safer South Yorkshire by effectively fighting crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and protecting vulnerable people.

“We also have a new team of experienced senior leaders in place, who together will make sure that the force continues to move in the right direction.

"It is a priority for us to design and implement a policing model and approach that will enhance our relationship with local communities through the development of our neighbourhood policing teams.”