The re-introduction of neighbourhood policing in South Yorkshire has helped the force return to normal operations more quickly following periods of “extraordinary demand”, one of its senior officers has told councillors.
Locally based officers have been phased back into service across the county after a decision to scrap the service, made by a previous chief constable, was discredited as a mistake and teams now operate in all communities and the decision was quickly regarded as successful.
South Yorkshire has seen several spikes in demand for police resources this year, with a number of murders and serious stabbing incidents which have happened in quick succession, including a series of three, unconnected, killings in Barnsley.
The town’s district commander, Chief Supt Scott Green, has told Barnsley Councillors the resilience neighbourhood police provide has been a vital factor in returning to normal operations as quickly as possible, including work to identify and protect society’s most vulnerable members.
He told councillors: “One of the things neighbourhood policing does is allow PCSOs and officers to know their communities.
“By knowing their communities they get to assess the vulnerable and changes in vulnerability. Local knowledge allows them to feed that information quickly.
“In response to extraordinary demand, without neighbourhood policing in place it takes a long time to get back to normality.
“We have had some significant spikes in demand and it has taken a relatively short time to get back to normality,” he said.
That has also been partly to police working with other public sector agencies, which now also work on a neighbourhood basis to provide a linked service.