A VIRTUAL panel meeting has been held to address road safety concerns in communities across Sussex.
Speeding, excess noise, and antisocial driving and riding in general have been a common cause of complaints by residents in recent months.
In response to this, Sussex Police and the Office of the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) invited those residents to view a live panel meeting on Wednesday 23 September.
This provided an opportunity for viewers to hear the plans in place to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads, and to improve the quality of life for those living in affected areas.
Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne explained that part of the precept rise for residents last year has allowed for an increased investment in roads policing.
She said: “In August, road safety concerns formed 15 per cent of all correspondence to my office and in September, it was 12 per cent. I know that this remains a top priority for Sussex residents and therefore investments have been made.
“This is an opportunity to hear how Sussex Police plan to use these resources to make our roads safer. I will continue to hold the Chief Constable and her senior team to account for improved performance in this area.”
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Miller said the focus will be on educating and changing the behaviour of drivers and riders who commit offences on our roads.
He added: “We can’t be everywhere all the time, and I’d like to thank everyone for recognising that, but we are here to respond and to make an impact. We have passionate and knowledgeable staff who are very keen to get in amongst this and work together with our communities, making sure that collectively, we make a difference.”
Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, delivered a presentation outlining how police will work with partners and the community.
He said: “Firstly, I’d like to apologise that you’ve suffered with antisocial behaviour on our roads. It is clearly unacceptable and it’s something we are challenged to deal with. I am well aware you have contacted Sussex Police and the OPCC regarding excess speed and noise, which is disrupting your lives. We do not take this sort of behaviour lightly, and I’d like to reassure you that we have a plan in place to deal with that.”
Chief Insp Hodder explained that officers including the specialist Roads Policing Unit, local policing teams, PCSOs and casualty reduction officers, work with partners including Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, Community Speed Watch and local authorities, to providing education and enforcement as part of routine policing every single day.
In addition to this, police run dedicated operations to crack down on particular issues in particular areas, and support roads policing initiatives both locally and nationally.
“I am passionate about roads policing, but also about making sure our communities can enjoy where they live in this beautiful county,” he said.
“We will listen to residents, assess the situation and respond accordingly. We will engage with and educate motorists, and enforce the law where necessary. This is an approach that we are absolutely committed to, to make communities safer and to reduce casualties on our roads.
“This is a team effort. We will work together with you, the community, to ensure we deliver the right action at the right time.”
Chief Insp Hodder also explained how modern technology, including speed guns, drones and noise detection equipment – which is currently being trialled in Sussex – can help to tackle antisocial behaviour on our roads.
He added: “Technology is really exciting for me, and it provides the reassurance that if a case goes to court, we have the evidence to support a prosecution.”
Chief Constable Jo Shiner concluded: “I’m really grateful for the work that is going into making a difference in communities across Sussex. I am clear that this is a priority for me and we will continue to work together through the SSRP to educate road users but, rest assured, that we will also enforce the law where necessary.
“This absolutely meets my three priorities of protecting communities, catching criminals and delivering an outstanding service.”
To report an incident of dangerous or antisocial driving, visit the Operation Crackdown website.
Or, if you wish to report a particular issue in your area, you can contact Sussex Safer Roads Partnership by email: SSRP@sussex.pnn.police.uk