Results of a government-funded scheme – delivered by Wealden District Council – which has led to significant improvements in reducing crime and disorder in Hailsham town centre have been welcomed.

The council successfully bid for a £300,000 grant from the Home Office’s Safer Streets initiative to tackle above average levels of neighbourhood crime in parts of Hailsham.

The funding helped pay for seven CCTV cameras in the town, two Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras within the town’s vicinity, two Youth Shelters to provide a place for young people to gather and socialise away from the town centre, the appointment of a community outreach drugs worker as well as three additional CCTV cameras at Wealden recycling points to detect fly tipping.

It also saw the introduction of a DISC system, which allows shops to share information between each other and the police about shoplifters operating in the town and other crimes that may be happening.

In addition, Nothing of Value cards for displaying in vehicles were designed and distributed to reduce acquisitive and car crime, homeowners’ locks were replaced and upgraded where necessary, and a large number of Selecta DNA kits, permitting property owners to invisibly mark their items were purchased to make it easier to identify and prosecute offenders.

Ongoing analysis is being conducted by a unit in Sussex Police, which provides the Community Safety Partnership team with quarterly reports. The partnership is confident this work will lead to gradual reductions in crime in this area.

The project has also demonstrated the value of tackling an issue holistically by involving a range of stakeholders. Moreover, the experience of delivering the project means the council is well placed for bidding for future money from the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund in other areas of the district as and when it is made available.

The bid was co-ordinated by Councillor Philip Lunn, who was the cabinet member for Community and Public Health and is now the deputy-leader of the council.

Councillor Lunn said, “Although Hailsham is a safe place to live, this government funding has helped us target areas where a carefully thought out strategy has made it much more difficult for those with future criminal activities in mind.”

“It is thanks to hard work and good partnership working by the Wealden District Council policy team, Sussex Police Neighbourhood Policing team, Hailsham Town Council and other organisations that so much has been achieved.”