What we pay to fund Sussex Police is to go up this year.
The increase, put forward by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, was backed by the Sussex Police and Crime Panel at a meeting earlier today (20 January).
The rise, equivalent to £5 per year for an average Band D household, will help provide more than 100 additional Sussex Police officers and specialist staff in key areas.
This will include around 24 more officers on dedicated Community Priority Crime Teams to prevent and disrupt local crime gangs, take offenders off the streets and tackle anti-social behaviour.
The extra funding will also mean 52 more Specialist Authorised Firearms Officers and three new specialist firearms vehicles in Sussex and Surrey, as well as 30 more Public Protection investigators to deal with the rise in cases of rape, serious sexual offences and offences against children as the public become more confident in reporting.
Up to 20 officers will work directly with schools, colleges and universities as part of Expert Youth Teams, focusing on prevention advice and interventions.
The Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner has carried out her biggest consultation to date with local residents on the Sussex Police Precept for 2017/2018. Almost 4,500 people responded with almost 80% supporting an increase in the police precept in order to provide more police officers and staff to serve the people of Sussex.
Panel members voted at a meeting at County Hall in Lewes to support the proposed increase to strengthen local policing where it is most needed.
“This rise will mean an extra £3m to invest in vital services to ensure that policing in Sussex reflects local priorities,” said Mrs Bourne.
“Local policing is adapting to match changes in crime so the new Community Priority Crime Teams will provide extra resources to crack down on small groups and individuals committing low-level crime and anti-social behaviour in our towns and villages.
“Early intervention is proven to help steer young people away from crime. Our Expert Youth Teams will be working across the agencies, including our schools, in order to spot the opportunities when the most susceptible are in danger of crossing the line.”
She added, “After the terrorist attacks in Europe and with the UK threat level set as ‘severe’, it is important that people can be reassured that in Sussex we have enough specialist armed officers and equipment. When they are not being deployed or in training, Armed Response Vehicle Officers support local policing teams so an uplift of 52 officers will put more highly trained officers on our streets.
“This increase will also mean more Public Protection investigators. In previous precept consultations, I have asked the public to help fund additional resources in this area. Although this has increased the number of officers and staff, Sussex still spends less per head of population than similar-sized forces as the reporting of these types of crime continues to rise so this investment is greatly needed.”
Chief Constable Giles York said: “The new policing model has been designed to meet the demands of modern policing and we are confident that it will work well. I welcome the investment that allows us to provide extra focus on areas where the most harm or vulnerability exists. It will be spent directly on keeping the public safer against terrorism, digital crime and increased reporting of sexual offences. It will also help make people feel safer through even stronger prevention teams working in their neighbourhoods.”