Crime may be on the up in Adur and Worthing – but local policing must focus on the crimes and areas most at risk, the area’s police chief told councillors.
Divisional commander Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell made the comments as he appeared before Adur & Worthing Councils’ Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee last week (15th February 2018).
Committee members expressed their frustration that Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne cancelled her appearance in front of the committee at late notice. But they thanked the divisional commander for his comprehensive explanations on operational issues across both areas.
Among the topics discussed at the public meeting in Worthing Town Hall included the visibility of officers, drug dealing, domestic abuse, the reporting of crimes and the role of PCSOs.
In giving an overview of the state of policing in Adur and Worthing, Ch Insp Ockwell said that crime was up 15% across both areas.
The commander also revealed that half of all drug lines in West Sussex came into Adur and Worthing while one sexual offence was committed in the area every day.
However, he reminded councillors of a reduction in police funding in the last five years, as well as cuts to other services, meant he had fewer resources to call on.
Ch Insp Ockwell also explained that the nature of policing was changing – with many crimes now taking place out of sight, such as online or in their own homes.
In response to councillors’ questions, Ch Insp Ockwell said:
“There is one sexual offence across Adur and Worthing every day, we receive more reports of domestic abuse than criminal damage – I do not think the public understand the scale of it.”
“We have to prioritise the work and do have to make difficult decisions. I appreciate the public will want us to do everything, they have the right to expect that as they pay their taxes.”
“We could be better at publicising what we do and explaining the challenges but we do not want to terrorise the public as in the grand scheme of things Adur and Worthing are pretty safe places to live and we’ve got really good officers and staff working hard to keep you safe.”
To read the full article, visit: https://www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/news/pr18-031.html