SUSSEX Police’s Chief Constable has thanked local communities for their perseverance during the second national lockdown, revealing police are now dealing with the full range of crimes alongside policing the pandemic.
Crime patterns have shown an increase in some offences including drug trafficking and possession and in public order. Other crimes have also now returned to pre-Covid levels.
Jo Shiner said the focus remains on daily policing, assessing where police resources will have the most impact and continuing to proactively disrupt criminal activity.
“Levels of crime are back to where they were before Covid but our officers are out there making sure we are tackling those everyday incidents that impact the most on our communities,” she said.
“We want to catch criminals, and bring to justice those who bring harm and fear into our communities. We will continue to do that, and we have dedicated enforcement teams within the force to support that work.
“Our proactive police teams have been responsible for dismantling five county drugs lines in the past two months, working hard to address the organised criminal activity that is associated with acquisitive and violent crime in our local communities.
“Covid has not impacted on our policing resources and we will continue to assess everything on its merits and focus our resources appropriately.”
Alongside catching criminals, protecting communities and delivering an outstanding service are the top priorities for Chief Constable Jo Shiner.
In particular, victims of domestic violence are urged to come forward safe in the knowledge that additional measures have been put in place to ensure they can access help quickly and discretely.
This includes raising awareness of the support services available to victims through enhanced messaging on social media, our website, in newspaper adverts and through community engagement in essential locations such as supermarkets, to reach out to those not online.
Sussex Police also has a 30-strong Local Resolution Team of specially-trained officers who are dedicated to dealing with reports of domestic abuse which are not immediately urgent.
The team, which launched in March, offers a special video appointment service that can be used when conversations can’t take place face-to-face for any reason, particularly during lockdown.
When it comes to policing the pandemic itself, the force’s approach has not changed and officers continue to follow the four Es approach – engaging, explaining, encouraging and only as a last resort, enforcing.
CC Shiner added: “Lockdown two feels different to lockdown one, there are more exemptions and less noticeable changes in crime patterns. However, our policing approach remains the same.
“Where we need to, and where engagement has not been successful, we will enforce. We have issued fines – one £10,000 to the organiser of a house party on Halloween, and two people have been summonsed to court in relation to other breaches.
“What we will absolutely not tolerate is attacks on our officers and frontline workers which, disappointingly, haven’t diminished.
“We know people have a range of different views on Covid and on this lockdown, and we respect that. However, we continue to ask people to take personal responsibility for their actions and to follow the government’s restrictions.
“It’s a complex situation, both for individuals and for organisations, and our aim is to work with our communities in Sussex to find our way through this together.
“Thank you for your support, and please continue to keep reporting information to us so we can direct our resources to where they are needed the most.”
Our priority is keeping communities safe and feeling safe. So we can respond effectively, we ask people to #MakeTheRightCall and contact us online or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.
If you’re a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is, and there’s an emergency that’s ongoing or life is in danger, call police on 999.
If you can’t talk because the perpetrator is nearby, you can then press the numbers ‘55’ into your mobile phone which will alert the operator to your situation.
The Sussex Safe Space website also provides a valuable directory of help and support from all agencies, available near you.
For further information and advice from Sussex Police, see the force website.