Residents pick their police priorities


Police are being urged to crack down on burglary, drink driving and drunken behaviour this year.

South Yorkshire Police Authority’s online survey asked residents to rank their most and least important priorities and responsibilities for the force.

It comes as the force tries to reduce its spending by £42 million over the next four years.

Of 794 people, more than 90 per cent deemed burglary of houses the number one priority for police to deal with, 71 per cent believe drink driving is a key issue and two-thirds have concerns about addressing drunken/yobbish behaviour.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent deemed illegal betting/gaming as less important for the police to tackle.

More than 70 per cent of people chose caring for victims and witnesses of crime as the police’s number one responsibility, followed by monitoring offenders who have been released from prison.

More than half felt appropriate intervention in domestic rows and disputes was the police’s third most important responsibility.

In terms of responsibilities, assisting in non-crime emergencies, such as people locked out of houses, was judged to be one of the police’s least important with 70 per cent of people picking this option.

Charles Perryman, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Authority, said: “Clearly, all police responsibilities and priorities are important - and the results of this survey will not mean that South Yorkshire Police stop doing the things which the public do not value quite as highly - but the force has to reduce its spending by £42 million over four years.”

“We wanted to make sure that the public’s voice was heard when it came to deciding where and how to make these savings.”

“The results suggest that members of the public struggled to select the less important police priorities because the numbers selecting the top answer were markedly down (476 people) when compared with those selecting their top priorities (726 people).”

“The survey has really emphasised the range of varied roles and duties the police are expected to fulfil and just how difficult it is to rank one as more important than another.”

“The combination of results generated by the online survey and feedback from the public meetings has played a vital part in the consultation process and the resulting data will now be put forward as the police authority looks to draft its policing plan for the coming year.”

South Yorkshire Police Authority also hosted a series of consultation evenings where people had the opportunity to quiz the police on key priorities for the year ahead.