A CAMPAIGN by councillors to get police based at a disused local station in Barnsley has succeeded with a new team of officers to move in next month.

It will see officers based at Hoyland for the first time in years and comes after persistent campaigning by the area’s councillors.

They move in on February 24.

Neighbourhood policing teams were scrapped by South Yorkshire Police as a cost cutting measure several years ago but have been successfully reintroduced by current Chief Constable Stephen Watson.

Since locally based officers were lost, councillors worked continually to bring them back because although neighbourhood teams have been reintroduced, those responsible for the Hoyland district have been based miles away at Goldthorpe.

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South Yorkshire Police has been recruiting new officers, financed with cash raised by Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, which has allowed expansion of neighbourhood teams.

That has given police the opportunity to respond to representations made by councillors and Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock in recent years.

The new police team will cover the same area as the South Area Council, which spans an area of Barnsley from Birdwell, through Hoyland and Wombwell to Darfield.

However, the Rockingham and Hoyland wards have suffered crime spikes blamed on the absence of police and councillors from those areas have fought hard to get the new neighbourhood team in place.

Coun Mick Stowe, who represents the Hoyland Milton ward, said they had objected to the loss of local officers and had then campaigned to get the station back into use.

“We had a meeting with police at Goldthorpe to encourage them to have dedicated teams in all communities.

“They did not respond positively enough to a spike in crime in this area, in our view,” he said.

Colleague Coun Nicola Sumner said problems with crime and anti-social behaviour in the area led to rumours of possible vigilante action.

“We called a special meeting for businesses and we had about 50 who came to raise their concerns.

“We had a meeting with the superintendent in Barnsley, with Steph Peacock, and told them of the problems.”

Coun Stowe added: “We have never stopped working behind the scenes. All six councillors have not stopped lobbying, having conversations where we could and putting on pressure where we could.

“We have been in touch with the police and crime commissioner on a regular basis.”

The new team will use the local knowledge they gain to investigate crimes which happen, but also to work towards preventing problems by tackling issues early.

Barnsley was used as a test-bed for new style neighbourhood policing, which has since been rolled out successfully across the county.

The new Hoyland team is a further development which follows an early decision to station officers in Penistone, rather than their original base in Kendray, and to set up a further neighbourhood team in Cudworth.

* Provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.