Mayor will take on full policing responsibilities for the immediate future

Oliver Coppard: The policing buck stops with himOliver Coppard: The policing buck stops with him
Oliver Coppard: The policing buck stops with him
SOUTH Yorkshire’s mayor is to retain personal responsibility for policing matters following his recent re-election in the immediate future, he has confirmed.

When Oliver Coppard was re-elected to the role earlier this month, his portfolio was expanded to take on board the role of the previously independent Police and Crime Commissioner.

That was a political role, with the objective of holding South Yorkshire Police to account and setting policing priorities for the county.

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Government policy is to weld that role into that of regional mayors, and where that has already happened - in areas like West Yorkshire - deputy mayors have been appointed to take on the former PCC responsibilities.

That is expected to happen eventually in South Yorkshire, but for the moment Mr Coppard will be taking personal control of those matters, alongside his other responsibilities.

He said: “Over the coming weeks and months I will be taking the reins and making sure that I’m fully embedded in the Police and Crime Commissioner role.

“I am determined that we’re working to make sure that right across South Yorkshire, our communities are not just safe, but feel safe. That is a priority for me.

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“We will bring in, over time, a deputy mayor who will do that job day to day, but the buck will always stop with me.”

Developments planned by Mr Coppard include creating a new Community Confidence Board, as well as continuing to use money diverted from criminals to tackle community safety issues and to develop a new Police and Crime Plan. That will reflect the policing priorities of the county’s communities.

Mr Coppard intends to ask Lord David Blunkett, a former Sheffield MP and Home Secretary, to help lead that process.

The Community Confidence Board is intended to give a voice to residents, particularly crime victims.

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It will be independently led and will help to ensure the experiences of women and girls, minority communities and crime victims are all taken into account when decisions on policing are made in future.

A ‘big clean’ is also planned, using offenders sentenced to take part in community payback work to help spruce up the whole county, tackling graffiti, littering and fly-tipping.