Police across Sussex are operating extra street patrols on New Years Eve, targeted on areas where women and girls have reported feeling unsafe, or have experienced harassment and violence.
The patrols add to planned regular patrol, response and reassurance coverage already in place, especially in relation to the night time economy.
The extra patrols, partly supported by the recent award to Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, from the Home Office Safety of Women at Night Fund, are based on regular analysis of local crime patterns but also by public feedback on the recently launched StreetSafe website.
On StreetSafe anyone can tell the police anonymously about locations in the neighbourhood that make them feel unsafe. Since Sussex Police began to publicise StreetSafe more than 550 reports have already been received. All the reports are analysed at local level and action is taken to adapt patrol patterns, and to consult with local partners on issues such as street lighting and layout.
Detective Superintendent Miles Ockwell of the force’s Public Protection Command said: “We want to help people enjoy the New Year weekend as far as possible, consistent of course with current COVID advice. We also want to reassure women and girls in particular that if you are out and about we will be taking extra action to help ensure your safety.
“If you have concerns or issues you need to raise while you are out, please speak to any of our officers or staff.
“Everyone has a right to feel safe on the streets, and should always remain aware of their surroundings, but if they feel at all threatened or in any emergency should always dial 999.”
The extra patrols, which also form part of police patrol activity at other times, is just part of the continuing Sussex Police commitment to stopping violence against women and girls, already reflected in a range of initiatives some of which have been recognised as national best practice, including:
– A multi-agency stalking perpetrator project to manage the highest risk stalking perpetrators using dedicated police offender managers:
– Successfully embedding the use of Stalking Protection Orders – the force has led nationally:
– A multi-agency domestic abuse perpetrator project, focusing on the highest harm, most actively dangerous perpetrators, to reduce harm and repeat victimisation and offending:
– Specialist officers who respond to support victims of serious sexual assault, working alongside investigators:
– A dedicated team of domestic abuse investigators who can respond to victims via video calls, providing a quick, efficient and discreet response:
– Extensive analysis to inform police patrol activities including revised night time economy policing engagement activities to identify and tackle inappropriate behaviours:
– Specially dedicated patrol units responding to emergency calls reporting domestic abuse.
The force has also launched a unique online survey which runs until 7 January, seeking the views of people across the county on the experience of women and girls as victims of harassment, sexual and violent crime.
The results of this survey, together with feedback from focus groups being conducted around the county, will be used to further improve what police do to make Sussex safer.