SOUTH Yorkshire’s policing boss has praised the joint operations between his force and the county’s fire and rescue service to help communities affected by flooding across the district.Dr Alan Billings said there had been ‘first class’ co-operation between the two emergency services and a commitment from individuals, with some working well beyond their shifts to help ensure residents were safe with the minimum impact possible.Dr Billings is the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, with responsibility for policing services and also sits on South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, the body which fulfils a similar function for the brigade.

The two organisations have been working more closely in recent years, a trend Dr Billings has been keen to pursue.He said: “The response of the emergency services to the unprecedented rainfall and flooding along the River Don was everything we could expect.“There has been first class collaboration between the police and fire and rescue services.“When the flooding began last week, many police officers stayed beyond the end of their shift to ensure people were safe. I have heard nothing but praise for the work of police officers.“It serves to remind us that we need the promised increases in police numbers not only to fight crime but also to assist in times of emergency such as this.”Meanwhile John Healey, Labour candidate for the Wentworth and Dearne seat in Parliament, has demanded government assistance for businesses hit by the heavy flooding.He served as floods recovery minister in the last Labour government and set up funds to help both small and larger businesses affected by flooding, through Yorkshire Forward, a quango since abolished.Mr Healey said: “The Conservatives have been on a go-slow since flooding hit our area.“When northern homes and businesses were underwater, Boris Johnson told us that the flooding wasn’t a national emergency. It’s hard to imagine him saying the same if this had happened in London.“The government must now act to help businesses get back on their feet, just like Labour did in government after the floods in 2007.”

  • Provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.