South Yorkshire Police increase presence in Page Hall to reassure local communities

South Yorkshire Police are visiting residents in four different locations across Sheffield today as part of Operation Duxford, an initiative of planned police visits in the county.

The crime crackdown has seen extra patrols in the east of the city, to raise police visibility and engage with socially hard-to-reach communities.

The operation has led to four warrants executed and 20 arrests in four different locations, with police recovering what they believe to be Class A drugs.

In Page Hall, a crime prevention stand has been set up on a residential street to offer advice on issues such as human trafficking and drug use.

Officers from across South Yorkshire have been on the estate, talking to residents about reporting crime.

Sergeant Dave Baines is one of the officers taking part in today’s operation in Page Hall. He said: “Every month, we have a large police presence in a different location. Next month’s is at Rotherham on 4 April.

“Each day has a different theme, and today’s is about engagement.

“We go into difficult and often deprived communities, like this one, with high levels of unemployment, poor health and levels of education.

“It’s important to achieve an outreach and have a presence in these communities.”

Police cars and vans have been patrolling the Page Hall estate

Page Hall has been known for racial tensions, anti-social behaviour and minor crime in recent years.

It was the location for Channel 4 documentary Keeping up with the Khans, which was broadcast in 2016.

Issues such as overcrowding and ghetto-like living conditions have been long-standing problems within the estate.

Local resident Andrew Hara, 67, says he feels reassured by today’s patrols but more could be done to tackle crime in the area.

He said: “They do a good job but they could do it more regularly. I blame the government for the cuts on public services.

“It makes me feel safer now, but in the evenings, you don’t feel safe. If you came back again tonight, around 7pm, it would be completely different around here.

“There’s a lot of fighting in the streets at night. They should have a presence in here everyday.”

Local shopkeeper Yacr Saleh, who has been a victim of crime whilst living in Page Hall, said: “I live in this area and have a business in this area.

“My car was damaged twice in 2016 on two separate occasions.

“There is an issue with crime in Page Hall, but today’s police presence makes me feel safer.”

Patrols have also been increased in Darnall, Woodhouse and Fox Hill today.

Operation Duxford has previously led to arrests in other areas in South Yorkshire and £33,000 of cannabis was seized in a similar operation in Rotherham.

The police operation is due to continue late into the evening.

Emma Bowden

MA Print Journalism student at the University of Sheffield, Journalism Diversity Fund recipient and former Lifestyle & Culture editor for The Gryphon