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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 June, 2003, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Blunkett's police pledge to villagers
David Blunkett
Mr Blunkett will visit Grimethorpe in the autumn
The Home Secretary has made a pledge to a South Yorkshire village that they will have more bobbies on the beat.

David Blunkett also promised the residents of Grimethorpe, near Barnsley, that he will pay a personal visit to ensure more officers are patrolling the streets.

He said that if extra police officers were not in place by the autumn local residents could take out their frustration with him face-to-face.

Mr Blunkett, who is MP for Sheffield Brightside, was speaking on BBC One programme The Politics Show on Sunday.

If those police aren't in place then the residents can personally have a go at me
David Blunkett

He said extra money he is giving to police forces would mean 4,000 new officers across the country.

Mr Blunkett said: "The chief constable of South Yorkshire has said he will take people out of the station and put them onto the street.

"I make this pledge. I personally will come to Grimethorpe in the autumn to see for myself what is happening.

"If those police aren't in place then the residents can personally have a go at me."

Reduced patrols

Mr Blunkett was being questioned via a live satellite link from the sitting room of Grimethorpe pensioner Elsie Smith.

She said the nearest policeman was stationed in the next village and she understood patrols were to be reduced.

She added: "Why are we losing this support? Surely we deserve better policing than this?"

Danny Gillespie, chairman of the local neighbourhood watch group, said: "The crime rate has come down in Grimethorpe.

"But a lot of that is down to volunteers being out there feeding information. I want more back-up."

The Home Secretary responded by saying: "Policing is much more sophisticated these days but...officers ought to be more visible to the community."

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