Sussex Police & Crime Commisioner
Earlier this week, on Anti-Slavery Day (Wednesday, 18 October), I announced funding for a new role to help tackle human trafficking and modern slavery in Sussex.
The new Modern Slavery Delivery Manager, who will be based within Sussex Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, will liaise with a number of organisations to provide a vital link at local, regional and national levels and develop a range of training and awareness activities.
In June I joined forces with my counterparts for Hampshire, Surrey and Thames Valley to host a conference in Woking to examine how our four areas could work together to combat the issue of human trafficking. The audience, including Kevin Hyland, the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, heard there were currently more than 300 operations taking place nationally to fight modern slavery with 24 live operations across the region.
The regional modern slavery event showed there is a considerable demand for a specialist co-ordination post within our county. It highlighted that, although many organisations are engaged in trying to combat modern slavery, they are often working in isolation and duplicating their efforts.
This new role will be a huge step forward to improve multi-agency co-operation in Sussex.
There is a need to identify more victims, provide appropriate support and galvanise agencies for a collective response to this issue. There is clear evidence that regions with good coordination, accountability and governance have made the most progress on this issue and we intend for this to be the case in the South East.
To read more about this, please click here.
You can also hear me being interviewed on BBC Radio Sussex on Anti-Slavery Day here (at about 17 minutes in) here.
There is a need to identify more victims, provide appropriate support and galvanise agencies for a collective response to modern slavery
I will also be investing up to £100,000 in support services after a report commissioned by my office found boys and young men risk being overlooked as potential victims of sexual exploitation.
A six-month study by the YMCA Downslink Group’s WiSE (What is Sexual Exploitation) Project has revealed a complex picture in Brighton and Hove and East Sussex with the wider public failing to realise boys may be at risk as well as girls.
This research has revealed abuse on our own doorstep with vulnerable young men more likely to be seen as perpetrators rather than victims. This is why I will be making funding available to build upon and improve existing specialist provision in Sussex.
The new funding will help to offer ongoing support to those and their families who need it most but who might not present a simple case for the agencies involved to deal with. We need to think differently about where we place our services if we are to prevent young men falling through the gaps.
You can find out more, and see the full report, here.
As Hate Crime Awareness Week draws to a close, I have awarded grants to four organisations in Sussex from my Victims' Services Fund for projects and services that support vulnerable victims of hate crime and those that have been persistently targeted.
A total of £77,242 from the PCC's Victims' Services Fund has been awarded to: Trans Survivors to provide a monthly drop in service in Brighton & Hove for trans and non binary victims and survivors of hate crime; Victim Support to recruit an Independent Victims Advocate to work in East Sussex to provide front line support to the most complex, high risk and vulnerable victims of hate crime; Rape Crisis Surrey and Sussex to fund the Step Forward for Survivors project, to improve the safety, resilience and wellbeing of women who experience multiple forms of disadvantage and vulnerability; and Brighton & Hove Impetus to support people with learning disabilities who have been a victim of or witness to crime.
These organisations will help me to shape a new county-wide hate crime support service, which will be up and running in 2019.
Nationally, hate crime offences recorded by the police have increased by 29 percent (to over 80,000 offences) in the last year - the largest increase seen since the Home Office started collecting these statistics in 2011-12.
The increase is thought to reflect a genuine rise in hate crime around the time of the EU referendum as well as ongoing improvements in crime recording by the police. There was a further increase in police recorded hate crime following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack on 22 March 2017.
You can read the full story, including hate crime figures from Sussex Police, here.
Katy Bourne - Sussex Police & Crime Commisioner
101 – Police non-emergency number
On the 1 November police forces throughout England and Wales switched from their various non emergency contact numbers to 101.
Sussex Police have been preparing for months for the switch over and have been live testing the 101 number since July 2011 in order to monitor how well the technology works.
Calls to the 101 non-emergency number will cost 15 pence for the entire call, no matter how long the call or what time of day it is. This applies to both landlines and mobile phones. In an emergency, callers should still dial 999, which is free. Those members of the public with impaired hearing or speech can still use the textphone -18001 101.
You can also report most non-emergency crime at no cost via the Sussex Police website at www.sussex.police.uk/contact-us/report-a-crime-or-incident. Online crime reporting was introduced back in January of last year and has proven very popular with many of the public who prefer this method of contacting the police rather than phoning.
When a member of the public calls 101, the system will determine the caller's location and connect them to the police force covering that area. They will hear a recorded message announcing which police force they are being connected to. If a caller is on a boundary between two or more forces, the recorded message will give them a choice of which force to be connected to.
Police call handlers in the force control room for that area will then answer the calls and respond appropriately. The caller will not be put through to a large national call centre.
For more information and some useful resources visit www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/101-police-non-emergency