A grim situation

Sir—Yesterday's Yorkshire was a place where you could wander out at night without being in fear, where women could walk through parks without feeling threatened and where respect was something that people earned and showed.

Today the situation is much grimmer. I went to this month's Wentworth North PACT meeting and heard about all the hard work and time that the Safer Neighbourhood

Officers have been investing but I was horrified to learn that often their efforts just move the problem rather than cure it.

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The meeting highlighted a couple of occasions that the police had tried to combat youth anti-social behaviour in specific parks and that they managed to get the groups of youths out on a permanent basis but then discovered that they had merely relocated to nearby parks.

This highlights how we are not solving the problems in our community but are just trying to plaster over them.

We need to tackle the causes and issues head on by improving policing and schooling, as well as encouraging personal responsibility and a sense of community spirit by giving power to local people rather than having a big government.

We need to attack the real heart of the problem. PACT meetings and street surgeries are a great opportunity to raise concerns and issues but the problems are far deeper than what our Community Safety Officers can deal with.

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We need to feel safe to go into Rotherham town centre at night, to walk alone in parks and to let our children play outside with their friends.

Michelle Donelan, Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Wentworth and Dearne.