Rotherham South has a new Safer Neighbourhood Inspector - and he says he has some big ideas for local policing.
Inspector Nick Gaskell took up the post of running the Safe Neighbourhood Teams for Rotherham Valley South, Rotherham Valley West and Wentworth Valley in April 2011, having already racked up over 16 years of police service.
He has spent his years rising through the ranks in a number of positions around the country – including working for the Metropolitan Police in London.
Now, having been working in the area for a number of years, Insp Gaskell says he has some big plans to tackle important local issues in the face of adversity.
“It’s an interesting time at the moment, and not without its challenges,” he said. “The area is geographically one of the largest in Rotherham, which means that we’re dealing with a variety of social and age groups as well as having to tackle both urban and rural challenges.”
“There’s no beating around the bush – severe funding cuts are coming up. We’re looking at 20 per cent over the next four years, and that will inevitably affect Rotherham.”
Despite financial difficulties, Insp Gaskell says he hopes to maintain standards and engage much more with the community.
“In the last six years we have seen fantastic results in terms of reducing crime and anti-social behaviour,” he said. “Our new challenge is to maintain and carry on the excellent work that’s been done in the area against a background of austerity measures.”
“We will endeavour to continue to keep Rotherham South a safe place to live and work and bring offenders to justice, and we will do that by tackling the issues that matter to local residents.”
He continued: “We are keen to listen to the concerns of the community through public consultation meetings.
“I am keen to reduce bureaucracy – I don’t want my police officers and PCSOs engaged with that kind of work. I want them out there and visible in the community.”
The dispersal order that was implemented in Dinnington last year has also proven very effective in the area.
“It’s had an absolutely massive impact and we’ve had great feedback from the community,” said Insp Gaskell. “One year ago, there were some significant anti-social behaviour issues in Dinnington.”
“Since the dispersal order, not only has crime reduced but people also feel a lot more confident and secure due to the reduction in the sheer number of people that were just hanging around in the area.”
He added: “The fear of crime can often be as insidious as crime itself.”
He also says that he is keen to encourage residents to support important community groups and projects who provide a valuable service.
“Key services like the Roc Cafe in Dinnington are important. It’s run by staff and volunteers with little to no funding and they’re looking for resources - so if anyone can help then please get in touch.”
He added: “There’s a lot of good will around here so I’m sure people will help.”