VILLAGES plagued by antisocial behaviour will be targeted by a new cohort of on-foot Barnsley police officers after the town was selected to become a pilot for a new scheme.
Worst-hit areas will receive ‘intense’, high-visibility patrols in a bid to reassure members of the community and rid crime from Barnsley’s streets.
Figures obtained by the Chronicle show a total of 30,297 crimes were reported in the town last year.
Barnsley’s North East ward - which includes Brierley, Cudworth, Grimethorpe and Shafton - saw around a third of those incidents, with a total of 10,077 reports.
It’s been a hotspot for crimes such as antisocial behaviour in the past year, with bus companies pulling certain routes after dark due to an increased risk.
The Home Office has said the ‘hotspot policing’ programme works, as the short and sharp patrols mean police can reduce crime and the public’s demand for policing services.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “Whenever I go to community meetings people invariably want to talk about antisocial behaviour as much as, if not more than, crime.
“It has a relentless nature, it gets people down, and the sheer amount of resource needed to deal effectively with it is alarming.
“As a minimum more patrolling by police will be done in hotspots, especially in the evenings - I also want to see the police telling communities and victims of antisocial behaviour what they are doing to reassure them.”
Hotspots put forward to the police will see an ‘immediate’ increase in police presence alongside other uniformed authority figures, such as wardens, in problem areas for antisocial behaviour, including public transport, high streets or parks.
Leaders say the increased presence will help deter antisocial behaviour, step up enforcement action against offenders, make sure crimes are punished more quickly and drive deterrence efforts, helping to stop antisocial behaviour spiralling into more serious criminality.
MP Miriam Cates added: “It’s great news that the area has been chosen to pilot the new ‘hotspot policing’ to tackle antisocial behaviour in communities where it’s a persistent problem.
“I welcome the government’s new action plan to focus resources on tackling the problem and encouraging young people away from antisocial behaviour.
“I’m also pleased to report that South Yorkshire Police now has an additional 406 officers compared to 2019, as part of our plan to recruit 20,000 more officers across the country.
“Our police work incredibly hard, and I’d like to thank them for all they do.”