Officers from our North East Neighbourhood Policing Team say they are ‘encouraged’ by comments made by the public, following six months of action focused on tackling criminal behaviour in Fox Hill, Sheffield.
In August 2018, officers working in the area had noticed that there had been a significant drop in public confidence when it came to how they viewed police activity. Sergeant Scott Sarson explains: “There was a lack of trust between the public and what we were trying to achieve; historic issues of anti-social behaviour and crime meant that community confidence was very low.
“I was determined to start the process of turning this around. We started by reviewing how we have worked in the past and carried out community surveys about what people’s main concerns were. Following this, we increased our presence in the area, upping the number of foot patrols and generally being more visible.
“By talking more regularly to local people, we established that they were worried about anti-social behaviour, burglary and intimidation.”
In addition to increasing patrols, officers worked with the local authority to identify practical solutions to make residents feel safer.
Working with Sheffield City Council, the Neighbourhood team introduced CCTV and secured funding for the installation of ‘boulders’ to prevent joy riding close to homes and gardens.
The team also introduced a Pop in Police station where people could discuss concerns on a regular basis.
PS Sarson says one of the main ways of building trust was improving how his officers communicated with local people: “We have taken the time to get to know residents and develop new ways of speaking to them and enabling them to share information with us more easily. Over the last 6 months we, as officers have become a trusted fixture in the lives of people in Fox Hill, where before there was just a void.”
One local resident, who has lived in the area for almost 20 years, explains how things have changed: “In the last six months, Fox Hill feels safer and a better place to live. Last summer, we didn’t feel like there was any support from our local policing team, but since this concentrated activity began, the area has changed dramatically.
“I used to be frightened at night, now I feel safe in my home again. Sergeant Sarson and his team have worked so hard to build up a relationship with local people; we know we can talk to them about anything. They have made practical changes; we see police officers in the area, CCTV cameras have been installed and these all increase confidence. It feels like the cloud over Fox Hill has been lifted.”
The targeted action has had an impact on demand in the area, in August 2018, 35 incidents were reported in the Edge Well area of Fox Hill. In January 2019, this had reduced to just two incidents.
Councillor Jim Steinke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety said: “This drop in reported anti-social behaviour is fantastic.
“It shows what a combination of people in Communities, the Council and the Police working together can achieve. The Council is committed to continue working in this partnership and that all its own services in the Foxhill area are co-ordinated as much as possible.”
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