Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner
On National Rural Crime Day of Action yesterday I joined Sergeant Tom Carter and PCSOs Jackie and Chris at Stanmer Park, for one of the Force’s many planned activities across Sussex to tackle rural crime.
In a county like Sussex rural crime remains a priority so I spent the morning encouraging people to sign up to Sussex Countrywatch to receive regular updates straight into their email account from police and partner agencies on the latest rural matters. To sign-up click here
This year’s National Rural Crime Strategy and my own public engagement campaign showed that locally rural crime is still under-reported. So it’s important that this scheme also encourages its subscribers to report crime and recommend others to sign up and do the same. We need to create a network of eyes and ears in rural communities that feed directly back to the police.
I remain strongly committed to ensuring that crimes occurring in our rural communities are taken as seriously as those in urban areas around the county and that these residents feel that they too have a voice. With this in mind, in January my team will be holding a focus group on rural crime in Battle as part of a series of targeted community engagements across the county.
The first in this series of focus groups was held in Arundel on Tuesday to ask local people their views on policing issues. Topics of discussion included anti-social behaviour, 101 calls and the lack of visible policing on the streets, a desire for more PCSOs and the need for a crackdown on youth offending.
Despite the concerns raised, it was hugely encouraging that overall the majority of people expressed their confidence in Sussex Police, recognising the funding pressures that the Force has been under and welcoming the current and future recruitment plans. I am keen to gauge the views of residents across the county over the coming months, with the next focus groups taking place soon in Horsham and Midhurst.
We need to create a network of eyes and ears in rural communities that feed directly back to the police.
A report from the HMICFRS was released yesterday looking into how Sussex Police handle cases relating to Child Protection. It was rightly recognised that Sussex Police has increased child protection capacity with more specially trained officers and staff, and made protecting vulnerable children a top priority during periods when the police force, as a whole, was under increasing pressure.
I am pleased that the ground-breaking work of my Sussex Youth Commission has been embraced by Sussex Police and continues to inform their approach to protecting children. We’ve already received encouraging feedback from schools and colleges across the county about the really positive difference made by the new Prevention Youth Officers funded by part of the precept rise last year.
It is apparent that demands on police child protection teams continue to increase. Whilst not part of the visible policing the public quite rightly want, this inspection clearly shows that police child protection teams are a key part of the vital policing we don’t always see that keeps us, and our children, safe.
Although residents are pleased to hear that Sussex Police will see 200 extra officers on the frontline over the next four years, they are already indicating that they would like even more. That’s why I have made a survey live today on my website to gauge potential support for raising more funding locally if the Government changes the current cap on the police precept. I would welcome your views, please click here
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner
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