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Home Secretary praises Sussex Police crackdown on Antisocial Behaviour

(Last Updated On: 14 February 2023)

The Home Secretary’s visit started with presentations by force analysts on the innovative use of data to help map incidents and trends and better deploy resources.

The Home Secretary was also shown the Hotspot Policing approach that focuses on 15 areas across Sussex with the highest concentration of serious violence. High visibility, and short, regular foot patrols in these locations at key times have made a huge impact and reduced crimes in some locations by over 93%.

The Home Secretary wanted to see for herself the force’s problem-solving approach to anti-social behaviour so we visited The Level in Brighton, where the public had previously reported feeling unsafe.

Drug and alcohol-related incidents, graffiti, rubbish and criminal damage were affecting the local community and visitors. There had been robberies and serious violence as well and victims and offenders were often under 25 years old.

Contributing factors included: anti-social behaviour associated with the skate park and also with members of the street community; poor lighting; overgrown shrubs and bushes; a lack of suitable CCTV; empty buildings; and the overall appearance marred by graffiti.

To counter this, Sussex Police started daily, high-visibility foot patrols from April to December last year alongside Brighton and Hove City Council field officers. They commenced knife sweeps and new CCTV and lighting were installed.

A police engagement hub in a council building was opened providing a daily, visible presence and point of contact including facilities and support for young people.

There was extra engagement with the street community and additional outreach to address drug/alcohol issues, as well as work with City Parks to improve the look and layout of The Level.

The transformation could not have been achieved without help from The Level Community Forum and the local community church group.

The result was a 55% decrease in ASB nuisance; a 28% decrease in overall crime; a 34% decrease in violent crime; a 52% decrease in violent crime in a public place and a 75% decrease in sexual offences and the fewest robbery incidents for three years.

Sussex PCC Katy Bourne said: “Sussex Police deserve enormous credit for their imagination, perseverance and professionalism in reducing anti-social behaviour by more than 50% and restoring local pride and confidence in The Level.

“We do have to use our resources effectively so, making the best use of data to drive policing patrols and activity is the way forward.  The transformation of The Level could not have been achieved without the collaboration of the local authority, buy-in from local people and support from outreach workers and youth groups.

“I’m pleased to see that the funding I have secured from the Home Office over the past two years has made such a positive impact in Brighton and other town centres. The Night Safety Marshals in the city centre are providing a reassuring and valuable presence, making it safer in particular for women and girls to visit.

“I want to thank Chief Constable Shiner’s team for their impressive results and the Home Secretary for visiting us today.  I know she was delighted to meet some of our recruits, funded by the Government’s Uplift programme, who are already playing their part in tackling anti-social behaviour and making the City safer.”

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