Unions fear the impact of cuts to police teams

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LETTERS have been sent to every Sheffield city councillor, protesting about plans to cut the numbers of council staff working with police safer neighbourhood teams.

Sheffield Council is to axe four support staff because the number of teams is being reduced from 11 to seven, and their boundaries are being redrawn to mirror the areas of council community assemblies.

Police are not axing any frontline officers when making the change, but four inspectors’ posts are being lost.

Jon Mordecai, Sheffield branch chairman of trade union Unison which represents council workers, has written to councillors voicing his concerns about the loss of council officer posts.

He said: “While acknowledging increased pressures on budgets, we feel it is important that members have the opportunity to reflect upon the proposals and the potential long-term damage to the city’s ability to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime, and maintain Sheffield’s hard-earned reputation as a safe city.”

Mr Mordecai said council officers have ‘successfully co-ordinated’ a series of activities involving safer neighbourhood teams and community assemblies. Events include youth engagement work during summer months, and addressing student-related problems such as noise and anti-social behaviour late at night in Broomhill.

Mr Mordecai said council safer neighbourhood officers play a ‘key role’ in tackling low-level crime by pulling together agencies such as the police, youth service and social services. He believes a reduction in the number of posts would be unwise due to a ‘projected increase in crime due to the current economic climate’.