Dedicated work to tackle issues around youth anti-social behaviour and violence is being stepped up in towns across East Sussex.

Officers have seen a recent increase in reports of crime and disorder involving young people in Eastbourne, Hailsham and Newhaven.

In response, police operations have been launched in each of the three areas with a focus on reducing violent incidents and anti-social behaviour, engaging with young people to divert them away from crime and taking enforcement action where necessary.

Chief Inspector Di Lewis, district commander for Eastbourne and Lewes, said: “We see first-hand the devastating impact crime and anti-social behaviour has on those living, working and visiting our communities, and we are absolutely committed to addressing this issue.

“We are aware of recent reports of crime involving young people in Eastbourne, including robbery and knife offences, and youth anti-social behaviour in Newhaven and Hailsham. This behaviour is completely unacceptable, and by launching separate operations in those three towns, we are intensifying our ongoing efforts to tackle this issue and hold those responsible to account.

“We live in a beautiful part of the country and we want people, both residents and visitors, to feel safe and welcome. Our dedicated police operations will see an increased police presence in hot-spot locations such as town centres and parks, and close partnership working with local councils, youth groups and other emergency services to find ways we can engage with those involved in crime.

“We ask the public to continue reporting incidents to us – we can’t effectively respond to a problem if we don’t know about it. We’re also looking to parents and carers to support the work we’re doing, by asking questions or raising concerns if they believe their child is involved in crime and anti-social behaviour.”

A common reason for a young person to become involved in crime is county lines – when organised crime groups exploit vulnerable people, including children, by recruiting them to distribute drugs.

Police are reminding parents and carers of the signs to look out for, that may indicate a child is involved in county lines:

  • Repeatedly going missing from school or home and being found in other areas.
  • Having money, new clothes or electronic devices and they can’t explain how they paid for them.
  • Getting high numbers of texts or phone calls, being secretive about who they’re speaking to.
  • Decline in school or work performance.
  • Significant changes in emotional or physical well-being.

If you have any concerns, or if you would like to report crime or anti-social behaviour, contact police online or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.

Reports can also be made anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.