Councillors probe PCC over Doncaster policing shake-up

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Doncaster councillors have quizzed the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner over a big shake-up of policing in the borough, as the force attempts to save millions.

South Yorkshire PCC, Dr Alan Billings and the Doncaster District Commander Chief Superintendent Richard Tweed have met with the newly elected members of Doncaster Borough Council, following the introduction of the new local policing teams last Monday.

The new local policing teams, which are bigger than the safer neighbourhood teams that preceded them, will gradually be introduced across the rest of the South Yorkshire Police between now and September.

The changes come as South Yorkshire police attempts to cut £74.5million from its budget by 2017, which is set to result in the loss of hundreds of officers from the force.

Dr Billings told councillors that the new local policing teams will be bigger than the current that the new local safer neighbourhood teams (SNTs) because they have been formed out of the previous response officers and SNTs.

They will operate a 24 hour, seven day, shift-pattern with a community focus.

He said: “Because all police officers will have access to portable laptops that they call tough books, they will be able to stay longer in the community. In the past officers had to return to the police station each time they needed to write up a report. In future people will see police officers using their lap tops in the community – in their cars, in cafes, in community centres and in shopping malls.”

The Commissioner also explained to councillors the consequences of continuing cuts in the police grant. He said he was particularly anxious about the reductions in police staff and the pressures this was putting on parts of the service, such as those who responded to 101 calls.