A further £1.2 million of funding has been secured from the Home Office's ‘Grip’ programme to tackle most serious violence across South Yorkshire.
Following the successful implementation of the Grip programme in South Yorkshire in Summer 2022, when the force was awarded a total of £1 million from the Home Office's national programme, South Yorkshire Police (SYP) have been awarded a further £1.2 million following its initial success.
SYP is one of 20 forces to receive a share of this year's national Grip programme fund, worth £29 million. The funding will continue to be used for ‘hotspot policing’ and other problem-solving initiatives in areas most impacted by violent crime.
The Grip programme focuses on delivering activity to reduce most serious violence through targeted hotspot policing and problem solving initiatives which aim to tackle specific issues in areas experiencing the highest reports of violent crime. The activities being delivered are targeted based on analysis of four years of serious violence data, which has identified twenty four hotspots across South Yorkshire where interventions are taking place this year.
Between July 2022 to March 2023, using the initial funding, an additional 13,686 hours of hotspot policing patrols were delivered across South Yorkshire. The hotspot policing patrols involve officers operating regular short and sharp foot patrols in micro-locations. Whilst on patrol, the uniformed officers speak to the public and act as a deterrent against the crimes that had been identified in those specific areas.
Whilst these patrols are deterrence-based, officers also look to proactively tackle serious violence, and this led to 49 arrests for serious offences, 123 stop searches and 77 police incident reports directly linked to the Grip Programme between July and March.
Detective Superintendent David Cowley said: "We know that unfortunately a large proportion of our violent crime happens within a small number of geographical areas. These are often persistent locations, where we see repeat reports of violent crime. After having a significantly increased police presence in our most serious violence hotspots since July 2022, we have seen reductions in a number of areas. We have also delivered a range of problem solving work in support of the hotspot patrol activity."
As a result of funding from the Grip programme, new body worn cameras have been provided to security and door staff, and ID scanners installed at key venues across South Yorkshire. These measures help to ensure violent crime within night time economy venues, where previous incidents have occurred, is reduced whilst ensuring people feel safer. A door staff advisory group has also been formed which has seen additional training delivered across South Yorkshire around the management of violent incidents at premises.
In addition, the funding has been used to deliver environmental changes in hotspot locations, including improved security features and lighting to create a safer environments, and it has also been used to deliver proactive violence reduction operations. This includes the delivery of Operation Skorpion, a targeted proactive operation delivered by our Operational Support Unit to target Organised Crime Group related violence, and Operational Sentinel, focussed around identifying those displaying predatory behaviour and safeguarding those who appear vulnerable within the night-time economy.
Det Supt Cowley added: "We can see from the data around the first nine months of Grip programme activity here in South Yorkshire that a combination of hotspot policing and problem solving work is hugely effective in reducing most serious violence in key hotspot locations. As part of the development of the activity programme we have worked closely with academic partners from the University of Cambridge, and developed a number of practices and techniques for selecting hotspots, collating data, and measuring crime reduction impacts over time. These practices and techniques have proved extremely valuable and therefore we're pleased to have secured this additional funding to further continue this work."
Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp said: “Everybody deserves the security of a safe street and home. We cannot allow intimidation and fear to take hold of communities and violent criminals must be stopped at every turn.
"Overall violence is down 46% since 2010 across England and Wales. Smart, targeted policing in hotspot areas of violence has yielded great success preventing crime and South Yorkshire is a pillar of this work. I thank the force for their continued efforts to keep people safe. "
The funding for 2023-2024 will be used to continue deliver hotspot policing alongside a range of other problem-solving measures to further bolster efforts to tackle serious violence.