The job of the police is to keep us safe. My job, as Police and Crime Commissioner, is to make sure the police get this right. This year we are doing a number of things to ensure this happens.
First, we are recruiting more police officers overall. This is the first time since 2010, when austerity began, that we have been able to put more officers on the street. Between now and 2024 we are planning an extra 220. We also need to replace several hundred officers who will be retiring over this period.
In addition, the government has pledged to increase numbers across the country by 20,000 – though we don’t know yet how many that would be for South Yorkshire or who will pay. But it means a big recruitment drive.
So there are many opportunities for a career in the police for young men and women in Barnsley District opening up. If you know anyone who might be interested, encourage them to get in touch.
And if they were thinking of getting a degree, they can now do that through a police apprenticeship scheme that will allow them to study on the job – earn as you learn.
The second thing we are doing is using £1.6m the government has given me to set up a Violence Reduction Unit for South Yorkshire.
I will bring together a range of partner organisations such as: police, local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, youth offending teams, public health, schools and colleges, the community and voluntary sector, and so on.
Together we will look at how we tackle the root causes of crime. We want to stop young people getting drawn into crime. We want to help those who are already offenders change their lives before they throw them away in long prison sentences.
At the same time, the police are also undertaking a number of targeted operations aimed at the criminal gangs and drug dealers.
With new money and new vigour we are tackling crime and its causes to make a real difference.