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Demands on police surge as residents snitch on Covid lawbreakers

Written by on 13/10/2020

Police in Doncaster have seen their workload increase this summer as a result of people complaining about others breaching Covid-19 restrictions, it has emerged.

The trend could be a worrying foretaste of the pressures police may face in the months ahead if some, or all, of South Yorkshire faces increased restrictions under the ‘three tier’ scheme.

Conventional crimes, like burglaries, fell across South Yorkshire after the initial lockdown, with the change attributed to most people rarely leaving their homes.

But South Yorkshire Police saw reports of antisocial behaviour rise and have blamed both complaints about people breaching the rules as well as children being away from school for triggering the problems.

Their figures cover May to July, with statistics for the more recent period not yet available.

However, a report states: “The increase in antisocial behaviour across the last three months has been noticeable in the categories of rowdy/inconsiderate behaviour and nuisance neighbours but it is clear that many of these incidents relate to reported breaches of Covid regulations but many also relate to young people who have been away from an educational setting for a sustained period.”

Overall ‘incident demand’ has increased “noticeably”, according to the report compiled for South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings, with “the lion’s share” of that increase linked to public safety and welfare incidents, with much of that blamed on coronavirus related problems.

That situation has reversed a long-term trend where police had been reducing the time taken to attend calls for help, both as emergencies and ‘priority’ incidents, where a quick but not immediate response is needed.

Despite a slight increase in delays, both still fall well within target times on average, with the typical 999 call taking 11 minutes to attend, against a target of 15 minutes and priority calls 45 minutes against a target of one hour.

The report was written by Chief Supt Shaun Morley, Doncaster’s police commander who is about to retire from the force.

It will be considered at a meeting of Dr Billings’ Public Accountability Board, where the force is held to account for its performance.