Inspector Andrew Norton was welcomed to the meeting to provide an update on the Safer Neighbourhood Service and their work in the area.
Members were reminded of the structure Members were previously briefed on, with a public service hub and locality based teams. The area was overseen by Inspector Norton, but with a team of PCs and PCSOs to support, working with Council officers to solve issues.
Those present heard of a number of significant incidents that had impacted on policing in recent weeks, but assurances were given that teams were now back to their normal working patterns.
Members heard how colleagues had worked with neighbouring authorities on the issue of cross border rural crime, and good practice had been shared.
The current focus of the service was on the dark nights period, with a phased approach being taken. A communication strategy had been developed and messages were being distributed through Police Alerts, Barnsley Chronicle, and work with schools with work being guided by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Those present heard work had started to promote responsible retailing, with test purchases of items such as eggs, flour, and fireworks being undertaken. ASB offenders were being visited, as well as the victims of repeated ASB. Young people were being signposted to diversionary activities such as Cycle Penistone in the area and Crucial Crew further afield.
With intervention prior to the event, it was expected that issues would be minor and low level.
Members were reminded of the current PACT priorities, which included issues around the Market Barn, and on the Trans-Pennine Trail. Those present were encouraged to continue to supply intelligence. It was noted that intelligence and opinions of residents were taken together with statistics to inform the response in the local area.
Members were made aware of the changes to the website, with direct contact details provided, crime analysis, and details of current PACT priorities.
Those present were encouraged to use 101 and online reporting to feed in intelligence, and Members were assured that many of the issues associated with the service had been resolved.
The balance between providing information directly to officers and central was noted, and online reporting was now being actively encouraged.
Encouraging volunteering was discussed and it was noted that neighbourhood watch is being well supported throughout the area, and work is being developed around community safety speedwatch. The complications involved in utilising volunteers in roles such as at the front desk of the Police Station were noted but it was suggested that volunteers were essential in engaging the community and communicating messages such as PACT priorities.
Noted was the need for officers to have a balance between being operational within the community and having a base, and Members noted that there were currently no plans to close the Police Station in Penistone.
Quarterly data was available, and Members heard that the number of repeat callers has now reduced in Penistone, and work was ongoing to ensure those calling with issues such as mental health problems were referred to appropriate agencies.
Members acknowledged the strength of feeling within rural areas with regards to cross border crime, with some farms, and outlying communities such as Ingbirchworth feeling vulnerable. Members supported the work of the Safer Neighbourhood Service officers in both responding to incidents and working to prevent crime where possible.
Members heard how organised crime groups did often target affluent areas, and these often were operational regionally or nationally, and South Yorkshire Police worked with relevant partners on this issue.
RESOLVED that thanks be given for the update provided.