Police and crime commissioner elections: South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police headquarters at Snig Hill in Sheffield South Yorkshire Police headquarters is at Snig Hill in Sheffield

On 15 November 37 police and crime commissioners will be elected in England, along with four in Wales.

The PCCs, as they will be known, will be tasked with scrutinising their force and holding it to account. They will also be able to hire and dismiss the chief constable and set the force's budget.

The commissioners will be paid and are supposed to empower local people into having a say on how crime is tackled in their area.

Nominations for candidates in South Yorkshire have now officially closed.

BBC News has taken a look at each of the police forces ahead of the elections.

South Yorkshire Police

The county is a mix of urban spread along with areas where there was large-scale mining, steelworks and engineering.

Analysis

As police forces shrink and start sharing services, the big challenge for South Yorkshire's police commissioner will be to make sure the public feel safe. We are repeatedly told that crime is going down here, but so is the number of police officers we have got.

A council tax rise to fund a hundred extra officers is softening the blow of losing 400 in the last couple of years, but there are real fears South Yorkshire is being asset-stripped.

Divers, mounted officers and firearms teams could all soon be shared across Yorkshire, and the challenge will be to retain a good service while trying to save money; a common theme across the public sector.

The force decided to keep its own police helicopter and join the new National Police Air Service that should start serving South Yorkshire in April 2013. The popularity of the helicopter is not in doubt, but the long term viability of paying for two services may be an early decision to the person who is voted in at the top of the cops.

Officers at South Yorkshire Police cover an area of 600 square miles (1,554 sq km), with some centres of population, including the city of Sheffield, and other areas of open countryside.

Priorities identified by the force include improving confidence and satisfaction, along with enhancing community safety.

Senior officers have identified the tackling of serious and organised crime, terrorism and extremism as priorities across the county.

Currently the force is led by Chief Constable David Crompton who has a deputy and two assistant chief constables, a director of finance and an assistant chief officer responsible for human resources.

South Yorkshire Police says it works closely with the county's police authority and rank and file officers' union, the Police Federation.

The force is also part of the Regional Chief Constables' Group (RCCG) and the Joint Police Authorities Committee (JPAC).

Together they outline the principles to guide policing delivered locally by individual forces, to communities within Yorkshire and the Humber.

Funding

South Yorkshire Police Authority has set a budget of £251m for 2012/2013.

Timetable for PCC Elections

  • There are 41 police and crime commissioner elections taking place - 37 in police force areas in England and four in Wales
  • No elections will take place in Scotland, Northern Ireland or London
  • Nominations for candidates will close on 19 October
  • Voting takes places on 15 November
  • PCCs will be elected every four years

The figure is based on an increase on the police authority council tax precept of 3.95%. Based on the average Band D property, this was a rise of £5.22 from the previous year.

The budget would enable the authority to defer a reduction of 110 police officers in 2012/13 and fund a further 22 police and community support officers (PCSOs) for the next three years, it claimed. The authority had also made a commitment to offset some other planned reductions in police resources in 2013 and 2014.

By increasing the council tax precept the county's police authority said it hoped to secure around £2m a year which would balance the need for further cuts in policing from 2013 onwards.

Crime and performance

South Yorkshire Police said a snapshot of the year 2010/11 showed that total crime had fallen by 9% - burglaries had been reduced by 5%; criminal damage was down by 17%; vehicle crime had dropped by 17% and incidents of robbery were down by 14%.

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