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IPCC has interviewed four South Yorkshire Police officers over Ian Watkins investigation

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has revealed that it's interviewed four officers from South Yorkshire Police as part of its investigation into the force's handling of alleagtions against paedophile rock singer Ian Watkins. The IPCC issued a progress report on its investigation following yesterday's acquittal of Watkins former girlfriend Joanne Mjadzelics, who's from Doncaster, of seven child pornography charges. The IPCC said a sergeant and three constables from South Yorkshire had been interviewed but there are further lines of enquiry to be completed in respect of the force.

Police appeal after man assaulted in Sheffield

Police are appealing for information after a 46-year-old man was reportedly assaulted in Woodland Drive, North Anston, in Sheffield on New Year's Eve evening.

At around 5.30pm, the 46-year-old man is believed to have been in Woodland Drive when he was approached by three people, two men and a woman.

There is reported to have been an altercation resulting in one of the men allegedly pushing the 46-year-old to the ground.

The 46-year-old was taken to hospital where he is in a critical condition.

The three people are believed to be around 18 or 19-years-old.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who may have been in the Woodland Drive area of North Anston around this time yesterday, or who may have information about the incident.

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South Yorkshire Police hand out 'Jingle Bells' to deter thieves

Instead of dashing through the snow, mounted officers and horses have been making their way through towns in South Yorkshire this Christmas, offering crime prevention advice and ‘silver bells’ to festive shoppers throughout the county.

PC Tracy Brown with Treeton and PC Julie Bradshaw with Whirlow Credit: South Yorkshire Police

The South Yorkshire Police mounted section was established back in the early 1900s, and every single horse owned by the force is listed in a record book that is over 100 years old.

There are currently ten horses in the mounted section, based at Ring Farm in Cudworth, Barnsley. Each horse is named after an area in South Yorkshire, and then also has a more affectionate name, as T/Sergeant Kate Leake explains: “Hoober and Edlington are the two horses that I ride, however we refer to them as Harry (Hoober) and Eddie (Edlington).

“The names are just a little more personal. Each horse has developed their own personality over the years and they all have very different traits, although they all love extra strong polo mints!”

The other eight horses at the section are called Billy (Brinsworth), Whirly Gig (Whirlow), Fenwicky (Fenwick), Forest (Bawtry), Toon (Treeton), Bernie (Burngreave) Coco (Cawthorne) and George (Oakwell), all of which are Irish Drafts, Clydesdale or Shirecross breeds.

Throughout December, the mounted officers and horses have been out and about in Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster, speaking to Christmas shoppers and offering crime prevention advice, as well as handing out ‘silver bells’ which can be attached to handbags and purses to protect people from becoming a victim of purse dipping.

T/Sgt Leake continued: “There is a rise in this sort of crime during the festive period. Opportunistic thieves will target members of the public who are out Christmas shopping and will attempt to take purses and wallets from handbags.

“With the bells attached to the bag, they jingle and alert the person of the attempted theft. The sound of the horses can be heard before we are even seen aswell, which also acts as a great deterrent. Anything we can do to try and protect the public at this time of year from becoming a victim of crime we will endeavour to do.”

Police appeal for man in distinctive jacket to come forward

Images of a man who could have vital information about an assault on a man in Doncaster on Monday December 8 have been released by police.

A 23-year-old man was seriously assaulted near to Tesco, between North Bridge and Church View, at around midday.

CCTV image of man police want to speak to over assault Credit: South Yorkshire Police
CCTV image of man police want to speak to over assault Credit: South Yorkshire Police
Distinctive jacket worn by man police want to speak to over assault Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Police believe the man in the images may be able to help with their enquiries. He wore a distinctive Adidas jacket, which police believe has the words ‘Dark Side Imperials’ emblazoned on the back and the letters D and S on the front.

The victim was reportedly involved in an altercation with at least two other men. He remains in hospital in a critical condition.

A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault and remains in police custody.

Do you recognise the man? Or perhaps you witnessed the assault?

Anyone with any information should contact South Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 338 of 8 December 2014.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Police train hotel staff to spot sexual abuse

Staff at more than 60 hotels across South Yorkshire have been trained by police to spot signs of sexual abuse.

The programme, called Operation Makesafe, will now be rolled out across the county after starting in May last year.

Officers have trained staff members to help them identify the warning signs of exploitation, how to spot potential perpetrators and victims and how to report suspicions to police

To date, 21 incidents have been reported to police and these have led to six arrests and police say several young people have been removed from harm.

Hotels are just one of a number of different types of premises perpetrators try to use hotels to facilitate their crime. We are preventing them from doing so by working in partnership with hotels across South Yorkshire and protecting young people from becoming victims of this horrendous crime. The results so far show how hotel staff are being more vigilant and aware of the movements of their guests and are more confident in contacting the police with any suspicions. I would like to thank all the hotels who have worked with us, we are grateful for their support.

– Sergeant Katherine Wallis, who runs Operation Makesafe

We have worked closely with the team over the last 12 months to develop what we feel is a very good training programme for all of our hotel front line staff.

– Ian Slater, Chairman of Hospitality Sheffield

South Yorkshire Police branded 'inept' over Cliff raid

MPs have launched another blistering attack on South Yorkshire Police saying it should apologise to Sir Cliff Richard for letting the raid on his home be filmed by a TV news crew and helicopter.

The high profile raid over historic allegations of child sex abuse, which Sir Cliff denies, is described as "inept" in a report today by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.

His Berkshire apartment was searched in August as part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on a boy at a religious event in Sheffield in 1985.

The raid - which took place while Sir Cliff was at another property in Barbados - drew criticism as a BBC crew was on hand to film the police activity.

South Yorkshire Police says it did not leak information to the BBC, but instead agreed to tell a BBC reporter of the date that Sir Cliff's house would be searched in return for the BBC delaying publication of any of the facts. The force says a BBC reporter had contacted South Yorkshire Police some weeks earlier making it clear he knew of the existence of the investigation and although the force was reluctant to co-operate, it did so in order to preserve the integrity of its inquiry.

But the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, Keith Vaz, said today:

South Yorkshire Police's handling of this situation was utterly inept. The Force allowed itself to hand over sensitive information to a journalist and granted him privileged access to the execution of a search warrant. The email exchanges could easily be mistaken for a script from "The Bill". The Force should have refused to cooperate and explained to senior BBC News executives why the premature broadcasting of a story, which they claimed the journalist threatened, would have prejudiced the investigation. "No British citizen should have to watch their home being raided by the police live on television. Sir Cliff Richard has suffered enormous and irreparable damage to his reputation and he is owed an apology over the way matters were handled. We are not surprised that he wishes to sell his home. "Police forces should consider carefully how they deal with approaches from journalists on such matters in the future. Someone in possession of sensitive information decided to leak details of the investigation to the media. We deplore this. South Yorkshire assert that the journalist stated it came from Operation Yewtree. The journalist denies this. South Yorkshire should have alerted the Metropolitan Police immediately. Their reasons for failing to do so are unsustainable."

In a statement, South Yorkshire Police said :

"Whilst we believe our actions were within policy and were well intended, they were ultimately flawed and we regret the additional anxiety which was caused to Sir Cliff Richard.

South Yorkshire Police has changed the way it deals with this type of media enquiry. In high profile cases the force no longer provides privileged briefings to reporters, nor does it confirm information which media sources seek to verify.

We are fully cooperating with the Metropolitan Police investigation regarding the original source of information."

A BBC spokesman said: "The committee chairman has already said that the BBC acted 'perfectly properly' in handling this story, and we're pleased today's report confirms this."

He added: "Our reporter said very clearly he did not reveal his sources to South Yorkshire Police. We stand by his account."

South Yorks police under fire over child protection

The police force at the centre of the Rotherham child abuse scandal is failing in one of its most important duties - to protect children according to the police watchdog.

Today's report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary says the South Yorkshire force has "limited understanding" of the risk posed by offenders who target vulnerable children. And it's been given six weeks to address its problems. David Hirst reports.

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