Sheffield at 'tipping point' as government funding cuts affect ability to tackle anti-social behaviour, says MP

Paul Blomfield MP says residents have voiced concerns about bikers 'terrorising' communities and drug addicts leaving syringes in public places
Paul Blomfield MP says residents have voiced concerns about bikers 'terrorising' communities and drug addicts leaving syringes in public places
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Sheffield is at a 'tipping point' as government funding cuts affect the ability of police and the council to tackle anti-social behaviour, an MP will warn today.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield will voice his fears in parliament about how austerity cuts are contributing to growing problems with street begging, drug use and young motorcyclists 'terrorising' communities in his constituency and elsewhere in the country.

In a debate about last week's autumn budget, he is due to tell fellow MPs: "Anti-social behaviour and low-level crime are chipping away at the quality of people’s lives and undermining communities.

"It doesn’t have to be like this. There are some really great people in voluntary organisations, in the local authority and in the police trying their very best to tackle the issues.

"But they’re being held back by the lack of resources and by the actions of this Government ... Like towns and cities across the country, Sheffield is at a tipping point."

Ahead of the debate, in which he will call for more funding, Mr Blomfield told how Sheffield Council's government grant had been slashed by 45 per cent since 2010 and was facing cuts of £60 million this year.

South Yorkshire Police, he added, had seen its number of frontline officers fall by 18 per cent since 2011, with a 27 per cent drop in PCSOs during that period.

He said residents had raised concerns during his recent community consultation, the Big Conversation, about a raft of issues they said were marring their quality of life.

Those included growing homelessness, youngsters on motorbikes 'terrorising' communities, drug debris being left in church yards and playgrounds, and addicts openly injecting in parks.

Speaking before the debate, he said: "Working together, council agencies and the voluntary sector can deal with these issues, but their hands are being tied behind their back.

"Council funding has been singled out for the deepest cuts and money has been diverted from cities like ours to wealthier areas.

"It’s not just direct council services affected, but the support they can give to charities and community groups too. That’s why I’m calling on the chancellor to think again before it’s too late."

The Star has contacted the treasury, Sheffield Council and South Yorkshire Police for a response.