CONFIDENCE in police is falling across South Yorkshire communities despite the reintroduction of neighbourhood officers and other measures to control crime, according to a report.

Reasons for the apparent contradiction remain unclear and the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said it was possible recent changes may take time to have an impact on public opinion.

But he added: “If we are putting so much into neighbourhood policing and are not seeing any increase of confidence, that would make me worry.

“The answer may be that not enough time has gone by.

“When people know neighbourhood teams are being strengthened, confidence may rise, but we don’t know.”

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Neighbourhood policing has been reintroduced across the county with great success and those teams are being further strengthened as overall police numbers increase.

Details of a reduction in numbers of people who believe police are doing a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ job were included in a report from the force to Dr Billings’ Public Accountability Board.

It said: “Our survey findings show that this reduction is linked to a perceived increase in crime and antisocial behaviour, and a reduction in those reporting that the police are dealing with things that matter locally.”

Dr Billings said data came from the Your Voice Counts surveys conducted in the county and he acknowledged: “It is a measure, if not the best measure”.

“There may be better ways of getting at trust and confidence,” he said.

* Provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service