Dr Alan Billings
One of the things I am required to do as Police and Crime Commissioner, is to gauge public opinion and try to ensure that it is reflected in the priorities of the police service. The reason for this is quite simple. Policing in this country is by consent. The police need to know, therefore, what they have to do to keep public trust and confidence.
So far so good. But how do you find out what public opinion is across the four districts of South Yorkshire - Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield and Barnsley – when each district and the communities within each district are so very different? South Yorkshire has ex-mining villages, inner-city areas, leafy suburbs, university campuses and rural communities.
I have a number of means of assessing public opinion – from telephone surveying to small tests of views at the various shows and events some of my officers attend. People also write to me and email. And I read the Star!
One of the most important ways is to meet members of the public at the various meetings I am invited to. Over the next few weeks, for instance, I will be with Cantley and Branston Parish Council, a Probus group in Dore, Rother Valley South Area Assembly and Cawthorne Parish Council.
But what I have discovered is that there is no such thing as a unanimous public opinion.
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