Chief Supt Ian Proffitt talks to us about taking over as the new District Commander for Doncaster and what his plans are for the upcoming year.
At the end of last year I took over as Temporary District Commander for Doncaster, following Chief Supt Melanie Palin’s retirement from the force after almost 30 years of service. This is a position which I am extremely proud to take on and I’m looking forward to working with partners and our communities across Doncaster in the coming weeks and months.
I joined South Yorkshire Police in 1998, and have worked in a number of investigative roles including District CID, Intelligence, Major Crime and proactive policing. I have also led local neighbourhood teams, as well as Fortify and Safer Neighbourhood Services in both Rotherham and Sheffield. My most recent post before taking up my new role in Doncaster was the Head of Operations in Specialist Crime Services.
I know Doncaster is a very busy district, with a number of diverse communities to serve and complex challenges to tackle. I am also acutely aware of the issues that have been having a negative impact on the town centre – namely anti-social behaviour, begging, rough sleeping and illegal drug-use.
I want to reassure the people of Doncaster that we are working hard to address these issues. The local neighbourhood team is conducting joint patrols with the town centre ambassadors, and has established a pop-up police station within the Frenchgate Centre. They will be supported by a number of specialist teams from across the force, including our Tactical Support Group, Operational Support Unit and mounted officers.
I would encourage anyone who has any issue to please go and speak to them. They are there to support you, but can’t help with an issue if they don’t know about it.
Just before Christmas, we identified a number of people who had been engaged in incidents involving groups of youths causing disorder in the town centre, Frenchgate Centre and the Interchange. Officers have arrested five people for criminal damage, assault and public order offences. The individuals have been released on police bail with a condition not to enter Doncaster town centre, specifically the Interchange and Frenchgate Centre. The investigation into these incidents Is ongoing and I know that there will be more arrests as we work hard to identify those that cause problems in the town centre.
There is a lot of work ahead of us, but me and my teams are up for that challenge.