South Yorkshire MPs told neighbourhood policing "not working"

Dr Alan Billings
Dr Alan Billings
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South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings has warned Doncaster and Rotherham members of "lack of visible policing and loss of local intelligence".

Accompanied by Chief Constable Stephen Watson and Doncaster Commander, Chief Superintendent Scott Green, Dr Billings met MPs Rosie Winterton, Caroline Flint and Kevin Barron at Doncaster's College Road Police Station.

The Commissioner introduced the new Interim Chief Constable to MPs before advising them review of policing he commissioned in May had revealed local model had led to "severe reduction in police presence in the local neighbourhoods".

Chief Constable Watson reassured Friday's meeting he remains "determined" to restore neighbourhood policing but acknowledged there could not be a simple return to old ways as there are too few officers available.

The only way forward was to work with other partners, such as local authority and fire and rescue, to tackle local problems together, he stressed.

Dr Billings said: “Since the peer review, we have confirmation the current policing model is not working as well as it should. There has been a lack of visible policing and some loss of local intelligence.

“My meeting with MPs has again re-iterated the need for the policing model to be quickly and thoroughly reviewed. It was good to meet with each of the MPs and I look forward to regular meetings with them and other partners to continue to understand the policing issues within communities".

He added: "Their concerns underlined how important it was to tackle local problems quickly before they became matters of serious crime."