Councillor raises concerns over local policing provision with commissioner

One of our councillors, Geoff Smith, has written to Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner after concerns over the future of policing in Crosspool were raised at last week’s Crosspool Open Meeting.

Residents voiced concern following the news that our nearest police station on Clarkehouse Road is set to close due to funding cuts, and some well-known local officers could be deployed elsewhere.

The letter is published below. Geoff has promised to share any response he receives.

Date: Friday, 26 July 2013
To: Shaun Wright, Police and Crime Commissioner, South Yorkshire
CC: Chief Constable, David Crompton, Sheffield District Commander, Chief Superintendent David Hartley and South West Inspector Deborah Pickering

Dear Mr Wright

I am one of the councillors for Crookes Ward in Sheffield. I am writing to you to raise concerns which have been expressed by local people and groups about the future of neighbourhood policing in Crookes, Crosspool and Sandygate.

I am writing to you as Police and Crime Commissioner but also copying it to the Chief Constable, David Crompton, Sheffield District Commander, Chief Superintendent David Hartley and the local inspector, Deborah Pickering.

We value our neighbourhood policing. We know who our local PC is and who our local PCSOs are. They attend local meetings regularly, make themselves available on our high streets to listen to local concerns, are known to local traders and community leaders, know the local area well and move quickly to deal with any particular crimes or patterns of anti-social behaviour.

We are not of course one of the higher crime areas in Sheffield but we have problems with burglary from houses, gardens and allotments, car crime, traffic congestion, noise and graffiti. Local people support the police and are reassured by knowing that familiar faces are near at hand and will deal appropriately with problems and keep local people informed.

We are worried that this is going to change for the worse.
The key elements of neighbourhood policing are police officers and PCSOs who have responsibility for a particular neighbourhood, know it well, and are known locally; and that they are based sufficiently near the neighbourhood that they can get to it easily and quickly by various means of transport.

The future of these key elements seems to be in doubt. It appears that a number of PCs and PCSOs might have a responsibility for a much wider area with a dilution of local knowledge and responsibility. Regarding location we are concerned by the proposed closure of the base at Crewe Flats and the possible relocation to Hammerton Road, or even further away at Woodseats.

The local Neighbourhood Watch has organised a petition on the location issue which you should be receiving soon.

I would appreciate it if you would look into these matters and respond. I will be making this letter public and will be making your response public.

Yours sincerely
Councillor Geoff Smith
Councillor for Crookes, Labour Group, Sheffield City Council, Town Hall, Surrey Street, Sheffield, S1 2HH.

Local police station expected to close in November

Crosspool’s nearest police station is due to close before the end of the year.

Crewe Flats police station on Clarkhouse Road will shut its doors in November, with the Broomhill neighbourhood policing team to be dispersed to other stations throughout the city.

Residents fear that the closure will mean that there will be less visibility of police officers in the area, with our local bobbies less connected and further away from the communities they serve.

The closure is likely to to be the result of cuts to funding. The South Yorkshire Police Federation warned last month that cuts could see South Yorkshire Police officer numbers shrink by a quarter overall between 2007 and 2015.

If you have comments on the threat to the police provision in our community then you can contact the following people to make your views known:

Crosspool residents vote in police and crime commissioner election

Stephen Hill church polling station in Crosspool
Stephen Hill church polling station in Crosspool

Crosspool residents are casting their votes today to choose a police and crime commissioner (PCC) for South Yorkshire.

The candidates are:

  • David Allen – English Democrats
  • Jonathan Arnott – UKIP
  • Nigel Bonson – Conservative
  • Robert Teal – Liberal Democrat
  • Shaun Wright – Labour

You can find out more about each of them on the Choose My PCC website and the BBC website.

Will you be voting in this election? If not, why not? At last month’s Crosspool Forum Open Meeting, opinion was divided on the idea of a publicly-elected police and crime commissioner.

One report this morning from a polling station in the area said that turnout so far seemed to be lower than for a general or local election.