Just over half of public showing confidence in police says survey

PUBLIC confidence in the police in South Yorkshire stands at just over 50 per cent, new figures reveal, meaning that the force is on course to miss this year’s targets.

Latest statistics show that, as of December 2010, confidence in the police stood at 52 per cent, which indicates that the force is unlikely to meet its target of 57 per cent by the end of the year.

The results – gained from the most recent “Your Voice Counts” survey – also show that confidence in the force is down three per cent on last year.

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Meanwhile, public awareness of safer neighbourhood teams (SNTs) came in at 39 per cent, just below the target figure of 40 per cent.

Satisfaction with “service delivery” is at 86 per cent, just above the target of 85 per cent, while satisfaction with police “follow-up” on crimes had increased to 77 per cent, again above the target of 75 per cent.

The statistics, which are set to be discussed at a meeting of the South Yorkshire Police Authority today, also show the latest figures for call handling.

Of the 205,295 emergency calls received by South Yorkshire Police during the 2010/11 financial year, 87 per cent were answered within 10 seconds – below the target set of 90 per cent. The average time to answer calls during this period was eight seconds, while 90 per cent of calls were answered within 20 seconds.

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Of the 788,668 non-999 calls received over the same period of time, 88 per cent were answered within the 30 second guidelines.

The report set to go before today’s meeting says that satisfaction levels with contacting the police “remain high” and “there are no issues for concern.”

It adds: “Looking at the force response to reported incidents, performance has been consistently good throughout the year and South Yorkshire Police has achieved the targets set for timely attendance at both immediate and priority incidents.”

Meredydd Hughes, chief constable at South Yorkshire Police, chose not to comment on the figures before today’s police authority meeting.

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Overall, crime in the county fell by nine per cent in the last year, according to the statistics set to be discussed by authority members today.

Serious Acquisitive Crime – which includes vehicle crime, robbery and house burglaries – fell by 11.3 per cent, against a target reduction rate of five per cent.

Criminal damage fell by 17.2 per cent, far above the target of five per cent, and violent crime fell by 13.6 per cent, again against a target of five per cent.

The report says: “Recorded crime in South Yorkshire is at its lowest level in 20 years – the last time crime was lower was in 1990.

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“House burglaries in South Yorkshire are at their lowest level in 30 years and the last time there were fewer house burglaries was in 1980.

“Criminal damage offences in South Yorkshire are at their lowest level in 12 years and the theft of vehicles in South Yorkshire is at its lowest level since records began in 1974.

“Satisfaction with service delivery is at its highest level since the force started measuring it.”

Anti-social behaviour incidents have decreased by six per cent over the last year and there has also been a 19 per cent decrease in the number of people killed or seriously injured on South Yorkshire’s roads.

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However, some areas of crime are on the rise, the figures show.

The report says: “Gun crime showed an increase of eight per cent for the year against the monitor and maintain target.

“However, it should be noted that the measure applies only to the use of firearms in connection with violence against a person, robbery, burglary and sexual offences, and the increase represented only 11 additional crimes.

“Overall, offences recorded involving firearms have reduced year on year over the last six years.”