NHS should pay for A&E security guards to ease police burden as South Yorkshire’s crime commissioner backs hate crime approach

Dr Alan Billingsi s South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner.
Dr Alan Billingsi s South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner.
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HOSPITALS should pay for their own security guards to patrol A&E departments to ease the pressure on the police, claims one of the region’s crime commissioners.

Dr Alan Billings makes the call in an article for The Yorkshire Post in the wake of the national debate about policing priorities.

Dr Alan Billings: The case for investigating hate crimes

His intervention comes after Sara Thornton and Cressida Dick – the country’s top two officers – called for there to be a greater focus on ‘core policing’ rather than hate crimes and offences like misogyny.

Dr Billings, who is commissioner for South Yorkshire Police, believes the police are victims of their own professionalism because they “have built a reputation as the service which will always turn out and this has raised expectations that will be hard to dislodge”.

Criticising Home Office budget cuts, he ventures: “We shall continue to press for more resources, but we must also get better at understanding the non-crime demands and finding ways, with partners, for reducing them.

“For example, there is no reason why hospital A&E departments should not employ more security staff of their own rather than asking for a police presence as a first resort.”

Dr Billings also defended his force’s recent decision to encourage residents to report ‘non-crime hate incidents’, warning “something that begins as verbal abuse may end with even graver consequences”.

He adds: “I cannot see how refusing to take misogyny or other forms of hate seriously helps either. Dealing with hate is one way of getting upstream of more serious incidents.”